How bitter sweet the days of September are. The joy of the upcoming cooler weather and watching the earth transform itself yet again in such beautiful arrays of colors and scents makes watching my garden fade all the more bearable.This weekend I finally harvested my basil which had gone for too long. I still got quite a bit (and will get a bit more before the season is out) but lost many leaves to the sun.
Has anyone grown basil indoors? Did it work? I’m going to miss fresh basil.
Basil loses much of its flavor and scent when dried, so I decided not to dry any in my dehydrator this year. Instead, I made pesto! I made one batch with cheese and one without. Cheese doesn’t freeze well, so when I’m ready to use that batch down the line, I’ll either eat it as is or throw it back in the food processor after it’s thawed. We’ll see.
I made the pesto batch with cheese into a cream sauce and it turned out pretty good! I didn’t follow a specific recipe (pesto is very versatile and you adjust ingredients to taste), but instead compared about 6 of the ones I found online and improvised. It would be fattier, but next time I might use heavy cream and omit the roux and light cream. It worked well, but I’m always looking to try new variations! (Though sometimes it takes me years to tear myself away from a favorite dish of mine and finally try a substitution.)
Here’s my recipe. For a freezable version, just omit the cheese. The great thing about pesto is that you can improvise to your heart’s content. Add some mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, parsley- the options are endless! (Let me say that there are many, many other “great” things about pesto. I just don’t have that kind of time…)
2.5 Cups (packed) fresh basil
1/3 Cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup pine nuts
4 med. garlic cloves
You can edit, omit, replace or add to this list of ingredients. Let your imagination run wild! Next, I want to make a wild mushroom pesto. If it turns out well, I may just stock up on wild mushrooms and never leave my house again.OK- maybe to get more mushrooms.
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1 1/2-2 Cup light cream (half and half)
1 Cup freshly made pesto (See above)
Salt and pepper to taste