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FRESH HERB WEEK: PESTO SAUCE

Fresh herbs are in season, but sometimes it's difficult to decide what to do with that fragrant, green bounty. This week, we'll share a few ideas for putting fresh herbs to tasty use. Today's recipe is a good way to use up a basil crop and can be frozen and added to pasta and more throughout the summer and winter. It comes from the website www.theperfectpantry.com. (It makes enough sauce for about 1 1/2 pounds of pasta.)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup fresh pine nuts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

DIRECTIONS

Place basil, nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until chopped. With the machine running, add olive oil in a stream until desired consistency is achieved. Stir in the mayonnaise and cheese. Serve right away, or cover in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to three days.

To freeze, omit the cheese. Portion the pesto into an ice cube tray. Freeze the tray, then pop out the cubes of pesto and store in a Ziploc bag. When you're ready to use it, take as many cubes as you need. Let it defrost, and stir in some fresh grated parmesan cheese to taste.

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