Pesto from one of my Favorite Guys

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Hello, Bert.  How I still miss you.  If Bert Greene were still with us, he would tell you his favorite summer herb was basil.  When he ran The Store in Amagansett on Long Island, he used to grow yards and yards of it in a brick-bordered kitchen garden behind his house.  This is the pesto he loved.
Pesto Alla Genovese
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1.  Place all ingredients except cheese in blender or food processor fitted with metal blade.  Process with on/off turns until smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
2.  Transfer mixture to medium bowl; stir in cheese.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Pesto can be refrigerated, tightly covered, up to 3 months, or it can be frozen.
Bert’s Pesto Tips:
This recipe makes 6 servings when served over cooked pasta; pass additional Romano cheese.  Other uses for pesto are dressing for potato salad; mixed with rice and nuts for roast chicken stuffing; spooned over cold poached vegetables; and stirred into fresh vegetable soup to taste.

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4 Responses to Pesto from one of my Favorite Guys

  1. Barb Spigner July 31, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    I made pesto last night with basil from my garden–it’s starting to bud/flower because of all the hot weather–so it’s time to make the pesto! I read a great tip in Cook’s Illustrated in the March/April, 2011 issue. If you blanch the basil for around 20-30 seconds in boiling water and then plunge the basil in ice water it won’t darken on you. Tried it last night and it does work. Now I can freeze my left-overs and it will still be green when I thaw and re-heat. They also did a taste test and found no difference in taste between the blanched and un-blanched pesto and freezing didn’t alter the taste. So great that it stays that nice bright green color.

  2. Debbie Vanni July 31, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    Thanks, Barb! What a great tip! I am having the same bolting problem with my basil. I will certainly use your tip this week when I make some pesto.

  3. Barb Spigner August 1, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    It’s so worth the blanching–that bright green color somehow makes the pesto taste better than when it darkens. The blanching delays the oxidation (and the darkening of the leaves) that happens when the leaves get crushed if you wondered why it works. I’m sure you know this, but you can somewhat delay the bolting by picking off all the ones that are budding/flowering. I just cut off all the tops of the branches that were doing this and then only used the leaves. Still have lots of basil left–and I only have 8 plants–4 traditional Genovese (spelling?) and a new variety I tried this year–lettuce leaf basil (very large leaves that look like lettuce). Will have to make more this weekend.

  4. Debbie Vanni August 1, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    I have never grown lettuce leaf basil! It sounds amazing. Thanks, Barb!

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