My mom was not the best at ordinary cooking. In fact, her cooking disasters are part of our family lore. She had the endearing habit of leaving out key ingredients that, shall we say, changed the character of a recipe. But, when it came to adventurous cooking, she was really on board. Although she often had my dad run to the store for the missing component needed in a gourmet dish, she and I had a lot of fun trying out dishes that were more diverse from what she usually prepared. She and my dad had a small vegetable garden at the very back of their property. They always planted tomatoes and beans, but for several years they also grew basil. By August, the basil plants produced tons and tons of wonderfully fragrant leaves. We discovered that one great thing to do with all that basil was to make batches of pesto. It freezes well and it is incredibly delicious on so many things such as: pasta, in soups, in vinaigreette, mixed in butter, on any meat, or spread on crusty, warm Italian bread.
The addition of a dollop of Pesto to the great Italian soup, Minestrone, makes a really delicious cool weather meal.
Steps for Making Pesto
1. For every 1 cup (2 herb packages) of tightly packed, rinsed, drained, basil leaves you will need: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons pine nuts, 2 medium cloves of garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons Romano cheese
2. Put a bit of olive oil in a skillet and saute the pine nuts over low heat until they are browned.
3. Combine the pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic, salt, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Then put in a bowl and stir in the cheeses. The aroma is intoxicating and it tastes great on everything!