Every season has its staples—foods and dishes you eat repeatedly because they’re easy or comforting or just plain delicious.
During the summer, my family staples include fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, strawberries, guacamole and pesto. We love pesto in particular because it’s so simple and so versatile. You can serve it on pasta, put it on pizza, mix it into a salad dressing, eat it on veggies for a snack—even make it into a yummy party dip.
Each year, my husband and I plant basil in pots on our back patio. These plants give us enough pungent leaves to keep us in pesto all summer and still share with friends. We almost always have garlic, olive oil and grated parmesan cheese handy. All we have to purchase is a package of pine nuts, and we’re ready to go.
There’s no science to making good pesto—here are the essentials of the perfect pesto recipe:
- Fresh basil leaves
- Olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Pine nuts
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Put a generous handful of basil leaves into a food processor or blender.
- Add a couple of cloves of garlic, less if you prefer a milder flavor.
- Toss in a small handful of pine nuts.
- Dump in some parmesan cheese.
- Add several glugs of olive oil – less for drier pesto and more if you want a more liquid consistency.
- Blend until the mixture turns into a paste.
- Taste often and add more ingredients until you get the flavor and consistency you like.
- Toss with cold pasta and veggies for a salad, mix into a cream sauce for a delicious hot pasta dish, spread on bread, use as a pizza sauce, use your imagination! If you make too much, freeze some in an airtight container. Then, during the winter, you can enjoy a little taste of summer again!