I have a thing about wasting basil. I hate to do it, but somehow it used to happen ALL. THE. TIME. I used to buy the packaged basil they sell at the grocery store, but I could never use it all before it went bad, which happened surprisingly quickly. Then I got wise and for even cheaper, I'd buy a basil plant to keep in my window-- perfect, right? Just pluck off the leaves when I need them? Well, you're assuming I can actually keep plants alive. So that failed. Then Bestie Jr.'s husband showed up at the door with a big sprig of home-grown basil, as big as the plants I used to buy. They were my ride, and in my haste to get out the door, I stuck it in a glass of water. And it lasted over a week, allowing me to make bruschetta and flatbread pizza. However, we were about to leave on our three-week vacation, and I still had several good leaves of basil that I just couldn't waste.
I decided to try my hand at pesto, and then freeze it for a later use.
It was a success! It was easy to throw together and when I wanted it, I broke it up in a pan on medium heat and let it melt, mixing it with an Alfredo sauce. It made an absolutely delicious sauce for our pasta and chicken!
I didn't really follow a recipe. I took out my food processor, and after rinsing the basil and spinning it in the salad spinner, I tossed the leaves in. I didn't have any pine nuts, but I did have slivered almonds hanging out in my freezer. So I tossed some of those in. I didn't add too many, because I knew I could always add more. This is how I cook-- I experiment and don't measure. It's annoying for those who need specific measurements, but it's freeing and fun and builds your cooking instincts, so I recommend it!
I added lots of freshly crushed garlic (I use my glorious Pampered Chef garlic press)-- about three cloves, and then of course, olive oil. Next was some salt and pepper. I was light handed with everything, because I only had so much basil, and I knew if I over-did it, it would be ruined. I ran those things around in the processor until the almonds were in really little pieces and it had formed a green paste. It was fairly thick, and smelled wonderful! I put the mix in an airtight container, and a few weeks later, it was perfect!
If you really need a pesto recipe, they're not hard to find. But I encourage you to experiment, and don't let those basil leaves go bad again!
One recipe that looks similar (although this includes cheese) can be found here.
Well anyway, happy basil-ing. From one sprig, we had bruschetta chicken, Margherita flatbread, and chicken pesto pasta. All healthy, all flavorful, and all easy!