I was sorting through old food pics and found this colorful one of pesto. Seemed apt to post the recipe, if only to enjoy all the bright colors of summer in the picture- before summer fades!
Take advantage of fresh basil in its prime in late summer. To keep it at its greenest, process it first with the olive oil and spinach; the oil seems to protect the leaves from oxidizing and darkening. The acids in the garlic, nuts and parmesan can darken the basil, so add those last. Another tip: pesto seems to stay greener when the leaves are processed at room temperature. In our many years of making pesto at The New Deli, we’ve found that the leaves don’t seem to like to get too cold in the fridge, only to heat up when processed…
Some recipes suggest blanching, to retaining pesto’s ideal green color; experiments at the deli have not proven that technique to be superior. Plus– this recipe’s easier!
Frozen portions of the pesto will keep for months. For an easy meal, add pesto and grilled veggies to pasta (tortellini is especially tasty). Or add to pizza, drizzle in soups, or use for a Pesto Torta appetizer . Makes approx. 2 lbs. (4 c.).
- 4 c. fresh basil leaves (12 oz.)
- 4 c. fresh spinach
- 3/4 c. olive oil
- 1/2 c. fresh garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 c. pine nuts
1. Process the following: > 4 c. fresh basil leaves (12 oz.) > 3 to 4 c. fresh spinach > 3/4 c. olive oil
2. Add and process again with: > 1/2 c. fresh garlic cloves, peeled (or 1/4 c. minced)
3. To the above, add and process: > 1 c. pine nuts > 2 c. parmesan
4. The pesto can be stored in the freezer, added to a zip-lock bag and flattened out; this makes it easy to break off a chunk of it as needed. Or, it will keep a week or so in the refrigerator; add a thin layer of oil on top (or press some plastic wrap against the surface), as exposure to air will darken it.