Sunday, September 11, 2011
Rockin' the Basil with Pesto Passion
This is either my third or fourth batch of pesto this summer. We have been consuming it in quantity, as well as gifting it. Each batch has been a bit different and this has been my favourite so far.
My basil was sourced from Waratah Downs Organic Farm at the Main Street Farmers' Market. The market operates on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 2 pm on the grounds of Saint Paul University, 223 Main Street, Ottawa. Waratah Downs also goes to the Ottawa Farmers' Market at Lansdowne on Sunday.
I purchased 4 bunches for $2 each. Each bunch had approximately 10 stems. After I picked and sorted the leaves, I had 280 grams of basil for my pesto. (Probably between 9 and 10 cups.) I gave the leaves a wash, spun them dry in the salad spinner and then laid them out on a tea towel to dry. It is important to move quickly, as bruised basil will start to darken.
My garlic was from my Roots and Shoots Farm CSA basket. I almost used one full head for a single batch.
I purchase my extra virgin olive oil (Kirkland brand), pine nuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano from Costco.
The lemon juice is used to keep the green as bright as possible.
I have toasted my nuts and roasted my garlic but this time I took them both straight up.
I considered using my VitaMix to make the pesto but ended up moving to the KitchenAid food processor. It just gives much better control of the pulsing. I like my pesto with a bit of body. Not to super smooth. Do we call that 'rustic'?
Leave a bit of room in the top of each jar to top up with a cover of olive oil. This also helps to keep the colour. Whenever you use any, level out the top and cover again in olive oil. I great tip from my foodie friend, JK.
The flavours in this batch were my favourite so far. Was it because my basil and garlic were organic? Were the leaves just the right degree of tender? Who knows what made this batch so perfect. I am just pleased that I could double the batch and tuck 1 5/8 litres into the freezer for the coming months ahead.
Adapted from many.
140 grams of cleaned basil leaves (~4.5 cups)
1 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3/4 cup pine nuts, raw
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
lemon drops, just a few squirts
Combine prepared ingredients in the food processor. Pulse chop until the desired consistency. Fill jars leaving room for a cover of olive oil. Keep in the freezer.