the farmwives kitchen: pesto

It’s green, it’s garlicky.

It’s chunky and creamy at the same time.

And it’s good all winter long.

It’s pesto, and we love it.

My record-keeping has improved over the years, but I still lose track of exactly how much pesto we freeze to keep us going.  A LOT.

Here’s how we like to do that.

Cheese – blocks of hard cheese – Parmesan or the like.  Pecorino Romano works particularly well, in my opinion.  I cut the block into pieces, then process them in a food processor until they are fine, but not pulverized.  Put the cheese in it’s own bowl.

pesto cheese1

pesto cheese2

Nuts – Pine nuts are irrefutably wonderful, but it’s rare to find them affordable enough to churn out gallons of pesto.  So, lightly toasted walnuts are ok, though I sometimes get a bitter taste with them.  Brazil nuts are quite nice, and one year we were gifted macadamia nuts.  WOW.  Mac nuts are GREAT.  So, maybe mix it up – pulse them in the empty food processor until just right.  Again, not pulverized – just finely chopped.

pesto nuts

Garlic – Throw it to it.  I chop this separately as well, after I do the cheese and nuts, so I have an idea of what ratio to peel.

We use about: 1 cup cheese, 1 cup nuts, 4 (or more) cloves garlic. 

Basil – Picking basil leaves is a family affair.  If we were to do it while the basil was in its prime, it would be easier.  Usually, we wait until the end of the season and take apart whole plants at a time.  We pack the leaves into large measuring cups to get a picture of quantity.  Pack the trusty salad spinner for a quick wash and dry cycle, then buzz the basil in the food processor until pulverized.

pesto leaves

Then, lickety split, we combine: 4 cups packed basil leaves (before they were pulverized), 1 cup nuts, 1 cup cheese, and approximately 4 cloves of garlic.

We pour nearly a cup of olive oil into the mix, stir quickly and pack into pint or quart freezer bags, mashed thin for easy access later.  We do this part as quickly as possible so the basil doesn’t oxidize and darken.

finished pesto

Of course, we taste it as we go, the cheese salt on our fingers is irresistible, and the whole family basks in the intoxicating aromas of basil and garlic that permeate the house.  Sweet dreams of gnocchi and pesto in the long winter ahead…

pesto blended

4 thoughts on “the farmwives kitchen: pesto

  1. have you tried hemp seeds? I have used this successfully in place of pine nuts. Delicious. Thanks for the step by step for bulk preparation… It goes so much easier that way.

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