Pesto Before The Frost

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Autumn days ahead on my favorite walking path along the lake.

It seems I have caught my daughter’s cold.  The writing goes very slowly when you have to stop every minute or so to tend to a leaky face.  But I’m in a good position to take it slow today.  Last week was very productive.  Thanks to my friend’s latest post over at http://yarnstead.wordpress.com/ I was motivated to clean up my own garden — ripping out tomato and cucumber plants.  I still have a couple of pots of mint to add to compost and a geranium or two.  All this autumn clean-up will get done, along with raking up the giant cottonwood’s leaves throughout the next couple of weeks.  Just in time for Halloween, outdoor fires, toasted marshmallows and some local pumpkin ale.

About a week ago, the day before the first overnight frost was expected I pulled the remainder of the basil from the garden and made pesto.  I’ve made and frozen pesto into ice cube trays lots of times before, but only recently did I learn to freeze it without the cheese.  For best flavor, you add freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino romano cheese after thawing out a few cubes.  The amount of cheese is up to you. And don’t forget the butter.  Stir it all together before tossing with warm pasta.

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* No one in my house will eat pesto besides me.  I know, unbelievable.  So, I take out a couple of cubes at a time for one and 1/2 servings of pasta and when adding in the cheese and butter to the thawed pesto, I use the full recipe below as a guide in helping me determine the scaled-back amount.

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Marcella Hazan has done it for me again folks.  Here is her recipe for Pesto by the Food Processor Method from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

For the Processor:

  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine before putting in the processor
  • salt

** At this point the pesto can be spooned into an ice cube tray.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for individual servings.

For Completion by Hand:

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated romano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 pounds pasta

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Voilà!