My colleague Sue DiManno, whose husband is a super gardener, brought me this vast bouquet of basil last Friday. It sat on her counter for a few days, then on my counter for another -- hardly the worse for wear. I opened up an old Marcella Hazan cookbook to get her pesto proportions and made several containers. I considered putting the pesto in ice cube trays, like contributor Jill Santopietro suggested recently in the Food section, but I didn't have any extra trays.
For freezing pesto, Sue suggested using walnuts in place of some of the pine nuts; she thinks walnuts hold up better. Someone else told me that you shouldn't add Parmesan if freezing. After soaking and stemming the basil, the project took minutes.
The mixture, with some walnuts, some pine nuts, and no Parmesan, went into containers I had around, and most went straight into the freezer. I tossed what was left in the food processor with pasta and cheese. Did you hear us moaning with delight?
Makes about 2 cups
4 cups tightly packed fresh basil, rinsed and dried
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1. In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse the mixture until it forms a puree. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin steady stream.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
3. Pack the mixture into small containers, press a small piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pesto, and cover with the lid. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months. Adapted from Marcella Hazan
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