I tried out the aerogrow system (with mixed success) and was ready to replace all my used up and/or dying herbs, and start a new cycle. But the basil was still thriving. So how to use up basil? MAKE PESTO! I have been experimenting with my pesto recipe, trying different nut additions (walnuts or pine nuts), adding spinach and Parmesan cheese. I finally have come up with a winning combination that I will use from now on. The biggest influence was Ina Garten’s recipe in Back to Basics (using both kinds of nuts – genius!). But I love adding a little spinach and lemon into my pesto and I don’t like it too salty or garlicky. After making the recipe, I split the pesto into three portions, threw two in the freezer (where they will be good for 2-3 months) and one in the fridge (where it will be good for 3-4 days). Each portion serves 2-3 people for an entree-sized pasta dish. Pesto is also great on fish or chicken. My hubby sauteed some shrimp, and tossed them with cherry tomatoes, the pesto, and some angel hair pasta for a quick and delicious Sunday night dinner.
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
6 cloves garlic
3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, packed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Place the walnuts, pignoli, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds.
- Add the basil, spinach, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds.
- With the processor running, VERY slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute.
- Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.