Sunday, July 18, 2010

Basil Pesto, "The Summer Sauce"

Walking down the aisles at the farmers market you can smell the fresh basil in the air and its everywhere. Huge bunches that sell for about a dollar for the standard green sweet basil, other varieties can be found such as the smaller purple opal basil, Thai basil and lemon basil. When you are buying large quantities of basil the easiest way to use it is making the classic pesto sauce. It is very easy to make by just blending the basil with extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, kosher salt and pepper. A trick for making a very green sauce is to briefly blanch the basil in boiling water for a few seconds then into ice water to stop the cooking, this method will keep the Basil's color from turning brown from being exposed to air. Large quantities of sauce can be frozen in ice cube trays then into plastic freezer bags till ready to use. For dinner I cooked a big pot of the famous Puglia pasta Orecchiette, which translates to little ears. All had to do was simply fold the pesto into the hot cooked and drained pasta. Its Summer in a bowl!

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