Goodies from the Garden: Fresh Pesto

Brooklyn has long been blessed with the Grand Army Plaza Saturday Morning Green Market. I remember going with my parents every week as a kid, decked out in an AYSO uniform and pining for apple cinnamon donuts before my soccer game. Every season brought us new and exciting goodies–flowers in spring, berries in summer and pumpkins and gourds in early fall.

Over the last few years, my parents have been using the market to help build a mini garden on their deck. It began with just a few herbs and potted flowers and has since blossomed into a much larger garden. They’ve even expanded to growing vegetables: zucchini (an utter disaster), green beans (exciting and plentiful) and carrots (what’s up, doc?), to name a few.

Yesterday, my mom decided to cut back some of her sprawling basil plant to show me how to make fresh pesto. Why I never learned to make this before is a mystery (especially since I’ve always been known as the “pesto girl” in my family), but I am glad I know now!

Making this pesto has inspired me to begin a new series this summer called “Goodies from the Garden,” featuring recipes made with herbs and veggies grown in my parents’ at-home garden. Hope you enjoy!

Now, for the pesto recipe…

Begin by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using your hands, submerge fresh basil in a small bowl of room temperature water to remove the dirt. Remove basil from bowl and place in a colander. Rinse under the faucet.

Lightly toast nuts in a small fry pan over low heat. Remove when just beginning to brown and add them to a large food processor. Pulse once or twice to break up the nuts.

Add the basil and process until combined. Slowly pour olive oil into the food processor while the motor is running. The mixture should become soft, close to the consistency of a pâté. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Drop teaspoonfuls of pesto onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten each dollop carefully. Cover with wax paper and freeze. To use, thaw a dollop in a small bowl on your counter. Serve as a dip, over pasta, on pizza or any way you like!

Fresh Pesto
By Emily’s mom, Karen

Ingredients (measurements vary based on personal taste and size of basil crop):
Basil (washed and dried, with stems cut off)
Nuts of your choosing (we used walnuts, though pine nuts are traditional)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Using your hands, submerge fresh basil in a small bowl of room temperature water to remove the dirt. Remove basil from bowl and place in a colander. Rinse under the faucet.

Lightly toast nuts in a small fry pan over low heat. Remove when just beginning to brown and add them to a large food processor. Pulse once or twice to break up the nuts.

Add the basil and process until combined. Slowly pour olive oil into the food processor while the motor is running. The mixture should become soft, close to the consistency of a pâté. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Drop teaspoonfuls of pesto onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten each dollop carefully. Cover with wax paper and freeze. To use, thaw a dollop in a small bowl on your counter. Serve as a dip, over pasta, on pizza or any way you like!

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One response to “Goodies from the Garden: Fresh Pesto

  1. Pingback: Avocado Salsa | (Mainly) Gluten Free in NYC

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