I have tried many variations of pesto (using kale, adding flaxseeds, with roasted red peppers, etc) all of which are wonderful. However, our garden is actually bursting with basil this year, so it was time to finally bring in the harvest to get the pesto made and in the freezer.
I have a friend who makes hers with a mortar and pestle but I use my food processor, which makes short work of this recipe.
Basic Pesto Recipe
* 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (I mean it, don't skimp, pack the leaves in!)
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 3-4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
* 3-4 Tbsp. pine nuts
* 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a large knife
I divided everything into 3 batches and after first chopping the basil in the food processor (be careful not to overdue the chopping or the basil can turn brown), then add the rest of the ingredient to the food processor, pulse a few times to blend (but still leave it a bit chunky) all together. I mix all three batches in a larger bowl, then put dollaps (~ 1 Tbsp) of the pesto into ice cube tray cubicles, freeze a few hours, pop them out into a zip-loc freezer bag, and then you are set for multiple uses all winter long.
This is not a purely local food. The last time I looked, I have not found Michigan olive oil or pine nuts. However, both the basil and garlic were from our garden, so I think that counts for something!
Now lick the spoon, scraper, knife, food processor bowl, anything you have used to get every last little bit of this delicious seasoning - yum, yum!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD