food, history, rural life, and how we connect our cultural past and future
Tis the Season for Leni’s Basil Paste
My simple version of Basil Pesto
It’s almost sacrilegious to admit that I do not care for the traditional pesto; not with pine nuts, not with walnuts, not with Parmesan. To my taste buds those mixtures always taste too ‘busy’! However I really do want to have the bright flavor of basil stored for later use after the gardening season is over.
So I offer here my simple basil paste; and if a person wants to jazz it up later they certainly can!!
Right now in the beginning of August the basil in my garden is going crazy and is attempting to bloom and flower. This is the best time to harvest it. I cut big branches to bring in the kitchen.
Using a scissor I clip off all the leaves so that I can avoid including the stems. Then it’s into the food processor – and I begin with a drizzle of olive oil to begin whirring. I add more as I go till the whole slurry is a loose paste.
I’m showing two ways to store the basil paste; both frozen but in different amounts. First is to store it in small jars – I level off the top and pour a bit of olive oil to seal it from discoloring. Then it goes into the freezer where it stays good for many months. I take one jar out at a time to use from the fridge.
The second method is to make frozen balls to drop into soup or sauce or a bowl of hot pasta. Wrap the whole carton well to go into the freezer. Once the basil paste balls are frozen you can take them out of the egg carton and save in a zip-freezer bag to get at easily.
I do hope you enjoy making my version of basil paste and using it in delicious dishes from your kitchen!!