Wednesday, March 25, 2015

L is for: Lemon Basil Pesto {and how to freeze it}

I realize basil pesto is a pretty basic thing, and you may or may not need a recipe for it... but this photo turned out too pretty NOT to post it on the blog.

Here's what happened.

About 6 or 7 weeks ago, I had a bunch of extra basil, and instead of allowing it to go bad, I decided to make a batch of pesto.

It happened to be a perfect lighting scenario in my kitchen, so I snapped a quick photo and decided to save it for a future post.

So even though I didn't make this recently, I DID recently use some of this very pesto in a delicious pasta dish and I thought it would be a perfect time to share with you one of my favorite kitchen tricks.

If you are sitting there wondering how I'm eating pesto 6 weeks after the fact, don't get too grossed out. It involves a silicone mold and the freezer.

I have these pyramid silicone trays that I've used for jello shots in the past, but they work perfectly for portioning out and freezing things (like pesto!) Ice cube trays work as well, but I do recommend a silicone one, as they make it much easier for dislodging the pesto cubes.

Simply figure out how much each opening holds and start spooning in the pesto. Freeze for a couple hours.

Once it has frozen, pop them out of the mold and place in a freezer safe bag. Be sure to write the date and how much each "cube" is. (Mine are a tablespoon each). They will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.

This will come in especially handy this summer if you grow basil in a garden or just want to preserve some fresh herbs for fall and winter. You can make pesto out of pretty much anything. I've done a pea shoot and arugula pesto, as well as a watercress and walnut pesto here on the blog.

When you're ready to use, you don't even have to thaw it out. Simply toss it into a pan and heat up until it melts. It's great on bread, pizza or in your favorite pasta.

I combined mine with some dry white wine and reduced down for a few minutes and tossed with sauteed shrimp and asparagus, a gluten free spaghetti and cherry tomatoes. A perfect and light spring dish!

As for the actual pesto itself... just basil, lemon, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and some salt and pepper. So easy!

Lemon Basil Pesto

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: condiment vegetarian basil lemon pasta pine nuts Italian

Ingredients (1 cup)
  • 2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Combine basil, lemon juice, toasted pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese in the food processor. While machine is running, drizzle in olive oil until you reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. To freeze, portion pesto into an ice cube tray or mold and place in freezer until frozen. Pop out and store in a freezer safe bag until ready to use.
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