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.
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.
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.
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