Every year I spend about a month making pesto — May to be exact. That is when the first crop of arugula is ready for harvest and the local farmers market is in full swing.
I go to the farmers market for basil because, let’s be honest, basil is a pain in the arse to grow. I know it comes up fast, and all, but the flowering stage sets in almost immediately and it never survives the winter. So either I spend a lot of time on a spice that will die each year and have to be replaced or I spend 50 cents a bunch for fresh basil at the market.
Each time I am able to create and freeze enough pesto to last through the year. I love pesto, or my pesto to be exact, but it is something I eat only once or twice a month for the most part. Of course if I ate more of it then I would just grow more arugula and make more ahead of time. I would also have to buy a larger supply of mouthwash or my wife would never kiss me.
One of the great things about pesto is how concentrated the flavor is. In other words a little bit goes a long way. Aside from tossing a scoop with pasta or vegetables it makes a wonderful marinade for any white meat or fish. Add some wine, at least a cup, to 2-3 tablespoons of pesto and toss with chicken, pork or fish and let sit for an hour or so. Grill over direct heat and you are done. This is what I did in the photo above. Below is my recipe for pesto. The measurements are complete guesses since the recipe is built to my taste. Also there are no pine nuts in my pesto. I hate pine nuts. They are one of the very few things I refuse to eat and that is saying something.
- 1 bunch basil
- 1 bunch arugula
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons grated Romano
Puree basil, arugula and garlic in blender. Add oil as needed to work into a thick paste. Add cheese to taste. Serve immediately or freeze 2-3 tablespoons per plastic bag. Pesto lasts forever frozen or about three days in refrigerator.