Pesto season for anyone else?

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Pesto season for anyone else?

Postby wnissen » Fri Sep 29, 2006 5:40 pm

This year I managed to avoid killing our basil plants and ended up with a healthy crop. Yesterday was pesto day, where I cut down the plants and picked the leaves, ending up with about 1.5 quarts loose, 2.6 cups packed, or 130g, however you prefer to think of it. Using Marcella Hazan's recipe, this turned into 10 servings worth, 8 of which I froze in a plastic-lined ice cube tray, per suggestions on this board. Looking forward to seeing how the defrosted pesto compares to the original.

The inagural dish was chicken breasts marinated all day in pesto, then roasted in a covered dish at 400F for 20 minutes. The chicken was moist, and the bland flavor of chicken breast allowed the pesto to strut its stuff.

In the excitement of chile season, anyone have time for pesto?

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Re: Pesto season for anyone else?

Postby Carl Eppig » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:00 pm

We love pesto, and have a little leftover in the fridge; but pesto season is pretty much over here. Sigh!
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Re: Pesto season for anyone else?

Postby Jeff Yeast » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:22 pm

In fact we are making a big batch tonight from the remainder of our plants for use on a 4-cheese pizza, but the rest will be separated into 1/4 cup portions and frozen. We should get about 15 more pizzas or pasta dishes before we have to buy basil again.
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Re: Pesto season for anyone else?

Postby Bonnie in Holland » Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:41 am

We have had a strange summer - July was the hottest on record, August was the wettest August on record, and September has been the warmest in 300 years! So the basil ended up loving it and produced like mad -- quite a feat in wet, cloudy Holland. So I have been making pesto for a while now this summer to freeze for enjoying in the Dark Months. I make two recipes. One is Marcella Hazan's, leaving out the cheese and butter as she recommends -- it comes out fantastic for all the years I have been doing this. Thaws out with great color and taste so fresh once the cheese (and butter sometimes) are added. Then the other recipe is a three-herb pesto (with flat-leaf parsley, basil and mint, garlic, salt, extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts, with the special addition of a touch of both white and regular balsamic vinegar - once again leaving out the cheese if freezing).
cheers, Bonnie
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Re: Pesto season for anyone else?

Postby Jenise » Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:25 pm

Lucky you! My plants didn't survive my three week August vacation.
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Re: Pesto season for anyone else?

Postby Christina Georgina » Tue Oct 03, 2006 4:02 pm

I had a bumper crop of basil this year, large and small leaf varieties. I find Marcella's method unbeatable and have used it for years for frozen pesto. As she advises, do not mix in the butter and cheese until ready to serve. Over the years I have tried different containers for freezing and I have ended up using 4 inch square tupperware containers holding a double batch of pesto. After they are frozen I remove the brick, wrap in saran wrap then in aluminim foil and then in a ziplock baggie.
I have found that smaller packs suffer from freezer taste and loss of color with exposure to light and air. It is easy enough to unwrap a brick, cut off a half or quarter to thaw slowly before adding butter and grated cheese. I always thaw away from heat and light because it will darken very quickly. Taste is unchanged but if the color is there it is hard to tell from right out of the garden. I have made 8 bricks so far so the triple wrap will keep it in good shape till next spring. Hate to see any of that beautiful basil go to waste and when you have it in the freezer it is so easy to use in many other ways.
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