I went to the dentist today and they didn’t find anything to get concerned about, so it was a red letter day around here. My whole goal for today was to get through my dentist appointment without feeling bad about myself, and I did it. When you set your goals to be real teeny, it is amazingly easy to accomplish them.
I am celebrating by making pesto. The basil plant out back still has tons of leaves on it, even though it is almost Halloween, and so pesto fest is upon us. Pesto is a great way to take care of all the fresh herbs at the end of the summer, if you don’t mind cleaning your food processor a bunch of times.
What can you do with pesto? Well, I’m glad you asked. I like to spread it on little toasts and eat it as a snack or toss it with some hot pasta and a little ricotta cheese. I also like to freeze it in ice cube trays. Each cube holds about 1 tbsp. of pesto (magic!). They keep in the freezer all winter, and you just throw a cube or two into some soup, rice or a stew when you want to add some potent fresh herb flavor.
Typically, pesto is made with basil and pine nuts, but with the power of substitution, you can make it with any herb-nut combination. You can also leave out the nuts altogether, and the cheese, and the garlic–and just have pure preserved herbs. The formula is simple — it’s all based on two’s:
- 2 cups basil (or any other herb or a combo of herbs)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted (or any other nut)
- ½ cup Parmesan, grated
Puree all together until smooth.
But why stop there? Pesto makes a great dip if you throw in some additions. My personal favorite is adding a handful of rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, but you could also try roasted mushrooms or roasted red peppers. Or maybe mix it with some soft cheese.