So last night I spent the evening harvesting tons of sweet basil from my planters and my garden...and turning it into enough basil pesto to last us years! And at the same time I had Food Network's Chopped (one of my favorite shows) rolling along on the TV. Not a bad evening, huh? And this morning my kitchen was still suffering from a post-pesto hangover of sorts - the drying food processor, the still-strong smell of basil and garlic wafting through the air, a big bag of finished pesto hardening in my freezer. And the kicker? And as is seemingly always the case, I ran out of pine nuts before I ran out of basil. So, back to the store today with the promise of more pesto-making this evening.
With Food Network and basil-production going on at once it hit me: Why not find a great Food Network basil pesto recipe to share this week. And so I did. So, here it is! This week's Recipe of the Week is Basil Pesto from FoodNetwork.com.
This recipe is super-easy - and so worth it! It's a classic pesto recipe that blows away anything you could buy pre-packaged at the store. To me the hardest part of this recipe is cleaning and de-leafing the basil. Other than that (and a quick prep for the garlic cloves), this recipe takes almost seconds.
Here's all you need to do. Take out a large food processor and drop in the basil, garlic, and pine nuts. Pulse them until they are coarsely chopped. Then add half the olive oil. I like to drizzle it in with the food processor running. Process it until you like the consistency. It should be pretty smooth. If you're planning to use it immediately, go ahead and add the rest of the oil and pulse it in. Add a little S&P.
If you're planning to use it all now, place it in a large mixing bowl and mix in the cheese. If you're planning to freeze it, put it in an air-tight container and drizzle the rest of the oil over the top. When you're ready to use it, thaw it and stir in the cheese at that point.
Personally, I take a little bit different approach. Whether I am using it immediately (which never happens because I make a ton at one time) or freezing it I make the entire recipe cheese and all. Then I freeze the entire thing in a freezer bag which has been flattened with the pesto in it. Then I can break off however much I want at any given time throughout the year. I merely thaw the amount I want and add in some extra olive oil to make it smooth again. And BTW, I've used my frozen pesto up to a year after I've made it and it's still great!
In this space I typically talk a little about the great websites that I pull these recipes from. Today's comes from Food Network. Do I really need to introduce you to the Food Network? I doubt it. You know it as the network that has Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, The Pioneer Woman, and so many others. Of course it has become perhaps the favorite channel around my house!
RECIPES OF THE WEEK.
And be sure to visit the great blogs I mention. You'll be happy you did!