Ontario has suffered a Basil blight for 4 years! It appears as though 2016 may be the first time we can make and freeze Pesto since 2012. YAYYYY!!!!!!!!!

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.

Click here for the video.

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!

Mangia, mangia!

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