Pesto pasta, Pesto pizza, Pesto potatoes (with green beans and slivered almonds!) Pesto potato salad…there are SO many fabulous dishes which need only a little dash of Pesto to make them magical.
So it has been really awful that Ontario has endured a “Basil blight” for almost 4 years now. I kept buying plants, only to watch them wither and die in front of my eyes: spotty leaves, brown patches, wilting stems. Even professional growers told me: “No one can grow Basil. A blight is killing the plants.”
Well, somebody figured out something – we must have a more resistant strain of plants this year – because for the first time in 4 years, Basil is growing like gangbusters!
I can’t believe I was able to harvest enough leaves to make a triple batch of Pesto on only June 19th! By August, my freezer will be stuffed full, I promise.
Here is the base recipe I use, from the Joy of Cooking. As you will see watching the video, mostly I work by taste and I switch out pine nuts for ground almonds, which are cheaper and more flavourful.
Go for the gusto! Plant lots of Basil!
Pesto, from “The Joy of Cooking”
2 cups loosely packed Basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts (I use ground almonds, or sometimes, walnuts)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I find this to be about 2x as much oil as you need)
Salt and pepper to taste