Pesto Presto

How does your basil grow this summer? Mine’s pretty much gone to seed and I’m not very good about watering it. Although I like to garden and I love the flowers and fresh produce, I don’t have much patience for the constant caretaking. I know, I’m a bad gardener.


Earlier this summer when it was raining every day, I took advantage of my basil bumper crop and whipped up a bunch of fresh basil pesto. Fast forward a month or so and it’s almost gone, but I had some kale that needed to be used. (Isn’t there always kale left over in the fridge?) I added more olive oil, four more cloves of garlic, some lime juice and the limpish kale and threw it all into the food processor. Voila! A new pesto was born.

GotMyReservations Pesto

I started making pestos of all sorts years ago when I first got Dorothy Rankin’s 1985 pesto recipe book, Pesto!: Cooking with Herb Pastes. I have bought and given away her little paperback so many times that I no longer have it in my cookbook collection. It was the perfect primer for learning to go beyond a basic basil, pine nut, and parmesan pesto. Pesto comes from the word pestare (to pound or crush) in Italian and is one of the easiest and quickest ways you can sauce meat, pasta, or vegetables.

I know -- it seems like a strange photo on the cover, but I promise you that the recipes are good.

I know — it seems like a strange photo on the cover, but I promise you that the recipes are good.

These days, we see pestos of all sorts being created on television cooking shows, but the basic elements are the same. I decided that I wanted to see if Rankin has gone beyond her original vision, so I ordered a copy of her newer edition, entitled Very Pesto!

Meantime, I’m channeling Ree Drummond who also posted today on Facebook about making basil pesto. Apparently she’s a better gardener than I am, because her basil plants are overflowing with leaves. Or maybe she has “people” to water her plants while she’s on vacation. One never knows.

I appreciate your support of my affiliate connection with Amazon and hope that you will click into my links if you decide to purchase a recipe book based on my recommendation. Please see my advertising disclosure for details.

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5 thoughts on “Pesto Presto

  1. Hi, Jennie! I had a nice crop of basil this year. This was my 2nd time growing it, but that 1st time wasn’t as successful. I have enough to make a bunch of something…not sure what yet. I’ll probably end up freezing it in oil ice cubes for use in soups and such over the winter months. That’s still better than buying the dehydrated stuff that now that I’ve gotten used to fresh will no longer do for my palate!!! I was pretty good about the watering this year, plus we got rain in pretty good spurts, too. There’s been plentiful sun, too, so hooray!!!

    Kale, huh? Hmmmmm…..that would be a stretch for me, but it’s worth a try, I suppose. Maybe a nice balance of basil and kale wouldn’t be so bad!

    • I didn’t use kale as the whole base of greens; I just added it to already existing basil pesto — about half and half. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Oh, boo…I didn’t plant any basil this year. For years, I’ve always planted basil. What’s wrong with me this year? I have no garden, either, so there’s no kale, no nothing. I guess I’ll break down and buy some kale at the grocery store. Thanks for the pesto inspiration – can’t wait to hear about the new book. 🙂

    • My basil is just gone, gone, gone. I’m tempted to buy new plants, but all I really need to do is cut it way back. I’m sure there’s time yet to bring it back before it freezes.

  3. You have no idea how exciting this post is for me! I recently discovered mint-pea pesto and I LOVED it. I’m going to have to order a copy of both of these! I also started growing basil as part of my 30-x-30 project, but I didn’t know I needed to trip it to get it to branch more so it’s a bit odd looking. I might start over as it’s done well in the house and I still have plenty of time!

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