The last full day of summer in New Haven was wonderful! The rain held off until after midnight, leaving us with intermittent sun, dramatic skies, and temperatures warm enough to sport shorts and short sleeves. It was the perfect day to head up the shoreline to Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford to pick fall apples and to purchase some of the last treats of summer— sweet corn, peaches, and basil.
We enjoyed the corn the very same day, after boiling it gently just until it was tender — 5 minutes for good-sized ears, no more.
The peaches are ripening on the windowsill.
Yesterday I turned the basil into pesto.
Pam was correct in her comment about James Beard; one of his best recipes is the one for Pesto in Beard on Pasta. It’s the one I always use.
James Beard’s Pesto
4 cups fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pignoli
1/2 cup Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- Put the basil, garlic, pignoli, parsley, and salt into a food processor or blender with 1/2 cup olive oil.
- Process, adding enough additional oil to make a smooth paste.
- Add the cheese, and process a few seconds longer.
How easy is this?!
Pesto has so many uses — from topping pasta to flavoring soups or stews. I like to spoon it over freshly-steamed green beans. The aroma of pesto warming up is simply divine.
Here’s the best part. Pesto freezes very well.
You can use airtight plastic containers; be sure to fill within a half inch of the top. Or freeze small portions in ziplock freezer bags, being sure to squeeze out all the air you can before zipping the bag shut. Beard suggests omitting the nuts and cheese from the freezer version and processing them with the thawed pesto just before use, but I have frozen the complete version without any problem.
James Beard wrote, “With pesto in the freezer, I can recover the fragrance of summer in my kitchen all winter long.”
It’s not too late to freeze your own taste of summer. Hit the farmers’ market soon and grab up as much basil as you can. Get your ingredients prepped, hit the button on your processor, and seconds later your kitchen will smell like the finest Italian restaurant!
And when spring rolls around, remember that basil is easy to grow in containers. All you need is a sunny spot.
Have a great week. Eat well.
I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”