This year, my basil plants ended up a bit pathetic, but the oregano grew like gangbusters. It’s not quite traditional, but I used it in my pesto recipe and it turned out really well! I made three batches over the summer. I oversalted one of them, but once I combined it with the others it evened out. In all I have about four cups, which will be plenty for over the winter.
(Sorry, I’m dealing with a cold and don’t have a lot of energy for things.)
2 cups fresh basil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4–1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Note: if you won’t be eating it straightaway, you can blanch the basil to preserve its color for storage in the refrigerator or freezer. Plunge it in 30 seconds in boiling water, then shock in ice cold water. Drain and continue with recipe.
Toast the pine nuts over medium heat until just starting to brown. Immediately remove from heat (so they don’t burn) and let cool.
Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheese in a blender or food processor. Pulse to combine. Turn the machine on low and drizzle in the olive oil. After a quarter cup, pause and turn the speed up to medium. If you need to, add more oil (our blender will just whizz air around uselessly if the contents are too thick and not liquidy enough). Process until it’s a consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Further note: this recipe seems on the more concentrated side, so I only have to use a tablespoon or so to coat 3 ounces of pasta. Reserve a little cooking water and toss with the pasta and pesto to combine and finish over low heat. (I also like to add a bit of red pepper flakes. And an extra finishing sprinkle of salt.)