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The Worlds Best Basil and Garlic Pesto Recipe!
Summers best flavours fresh or from the freezer year round.
Oddly enough this recipe was given to me by my best friends Grandma. What's odd is that they were Polish. Babtcha (that's what we called her) was a barely five foot tall, stooped over in the middle 86 year old cantankerous old lady. Who even at that age dug up her own garden. (She lived to be 101 and still worked 1/2 her garden). I'm not talking about a puny little plot no it was almost 1/4 of an acre and she grew most of the veggies for the whole family and half the neighborhood.
Her favorite was basill and she grew the most beautiful green and purple basil in a 10'x10' section. And at least 15 12' long rows of garlic.
She made home made perogies weekly with three different flavor fillings. Naturally the traditional potato and bacon and cottage cheese and bacon were the best. But her adaptation of pesto with Romano cheese filled ones also covered with pesto topping perogies were absolutely plate licking awesome.
Babtcha's original recipe called for hazelnuts. I use either pine nuts or hazelnuts which ever I happen to have on hand. I guess the pine nuts give the recipe a more Mediterranean taste. You should try both and then adapt which ever you prefer.
- 3-4 cups fresh basil leaves (nice and green discard brown or dry leaves)
- 1/2 cup cilantro or parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (I add an extra bit if cheese is too fresh or a couple of tablespoons of ground dry Parmesan)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 6-7 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. (preferably freshly squeezed)
- 1/2 cup 'extra virgin' Olive oil.(The best quality you can afford as this gives the pesto such an important flavor)
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar or splenda (I use 1-2 drops of liquid stevia)
- Pluck well washed and drained basil leaves off the stems. (when basil starts producing flower tops I pinch off 3-4" off the top of the plant that way the plant will still grow and the remaining leaves grow extra nice and big) Pack leaves extra tightly into measuring cup.
- Combine peeled garlic with salt in food-processor give it a quick swirl then add remaining ingredients except for cheese. process until all smooth and blended (take full advantage of the heavenly aroma) now add cheese a quick swirl just to blend together.
Serve over freshly cooked pasta or for a special treat over my Hungarian potato noodles. (recipe hub available) Pesto is also very great served with chicken or fish. I also add it regularly to my stir-fries.
This makes about 1 1/2 cups Pesto!
All summer while the basil is growing in the garden I keep making these large batches of pesto. I usually use up half for meals over pasta etc. the rest I freeze. Freezing is really the safest way to preserve the awesome summer flavors. I have ice-cube trays that I use just for this. (The plastic trays discolor even with only one use) Once frozen I plop the pesto cubes into ziplocks, 10-12 per bag then store them in large tightly seal-able Tupperware containers. They keep well for 6-8 months. (I'm told, I never have them around for that long).
In the fall at the end of the growing season when there just seems to be too much basil left I also freeze some without the cheese and nuts. This is great to use as flavorings for stews or beef stir-fries.
This is an international recipe: Pesto being an Italian specialty; the recipe perfected by a Polish Lady given to me in Canada and served over my native Hungarian potato noodles...I would say this is just the most perfect and the worlds best pesto ever...
This recipe hub is dedicated to Babtcha; hope you have all the heavenly soil to dig around in, up there, I know that's what you were hoping for.
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