Thursday, August 6, 2009

Save Summer at its Best with Pesto

Don’t let the picture scare you. Capri flavors chef Titina makes giant vats of pesto because she puts some away for future classes and freezes jars of it for sale in the store. (They fly off the shelves, by the way) But pesto doesn’t have to be a big project. If you have 5 minutes, a food processor and a few choice ingredients, you can make a great meal for now…and one or two for later.
First buy fresh basil at its peak. Titina grows two patches at the Capri Flavors retail store. Basil is an easy crop that will grow in a small space, but if you don’t have home grown, check your local farmers market. Clumps of Basil are selling for about two to three dollars locally. And the taste? Well--priceless. It is so nice when you can bring a fresh bit of summer out of the freezer later in the year.

Here’s how to make pesto-- Titina style.

  • You will need:
    A bunch of basil. (Plan to use it the same day you buy or harvest. Wash and roll in a kitchen towel to dry. Never refrigerate. )

  • Pine nuts--a handful or more (Capri flavors sells lovely pine nuts from Italy which are actually shaped differently from the ones at the local gourmet store—and taste so much better)

  • Parmigiano - reggiano cheese-- A hand full (no need to grate it) Titina cuts it into smallish pieces then lets the processor do the work

  • A few cloves garlic

  • Enough olive oil to bind it all and then a little more

  • Salt and pepper

    Process nuts, cheese and garlic. With the processor running, add basil (small stems are ok…but no flowers) Add oil. Then add sea salt and pepper and taste. It should please you…a lot.
    Freeze in small jars for use until next summer.

Pesto is great on pasta, pizza, and sometimes right out of the jar at midnight when you crave summer. It is the essence of the season and like most Italian classics, so much better when it’s homemade.

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