When life gives you basil, make pesto. Pesto stash in the freezer will brighten any winter day—and stirred into pasta, ooh-la-la. Make a point to use at least some of your fresh pesto immediately—it is the essence of summer. Lick it off a spoon if you must. Pack any remainder away in the freezer.
This is my basic pesto recipe. I use all basil if that is what I have, but it’s fun to add other greens too. And don’t be stuck on walnuts for the nuts. Feeling luxurious? Use pine nuts. Sometimes the only nuts I have in the pantry are sunflower seeds and I toast and grind them instead. Pesto is also wonderful with pecans or pumpkin seeds. Deer Valley chefs use sliced almonds.
Basil and Arugula Pesto
2 large garlic cloves
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, broken in pieces or already grated (don’t even think of using that sawdust in the green can)
1 cup tightly packed stemmed fresh basil
1 cup tightly packed arugula leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
With the motor of the food processor running, mince the garlic by dropping it through the feed tube. Process until it is very fine. Add the cheese, basil, walnuts and salt. Process for about 10 seconds, stopping to move things around if they get hung up. With the machine running, pour oil through the feed tube in a thin stream, processing until everything is well blended.
Makes about 1 cup.