Making pesto is so simple that you hardly need a recipe — and that’s probably the reason that even though we have been putting basil in your box for many years, this is the first time we have made pesto the ‘Recipe of the Week.” You can adjust pesto to your own taste and you can freeze it for future use. It can be used as a concentrated seasoning and added to sauces, soups, sandwiches and cooked dishes. At this time of year, in the spring, with the new potatoes in the box, you might want to serve the pesto as a seasoning on top of your steamed new potatoes. Pesto is also often served on pasta. (Your bunch this first week is a little small, so if you decide to make pesto, you can either make a small quantity – it goes a long way – or add some parsley to the dish.)
1 cup of basil leaves
Optional: 1/2 cup of parsley
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup of roasted, diced nuts (We use Full Belly walnuts, pine nuts are more traditional.)
1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Traditionalists make pesto in a mortar, pounding the ingredients with the pestle. A thin stream of the olive oil is poured into the mortar on top of the other ingredients. Pounding and grinding continues until the pesto attains the desired consistency.
Alternately, the ingredients can be put into a blender, adding the olive oil a little bit at a time until the pesto achieves the desired consistency.