Once the sun and heat start to stay with us, the basil starts to flourish. We get basil from our CSA usually, and also grow several plants in our garden as well. Basil is a fun plant for kids to harvest, as it is very easy to pick, and there isn't any question of is it-or-is it not ready.
We are not big pasta eaters, but when pesto season arrives, it is a great excuse to eat a big bowl of pasta, make a loaf of fresh bread to spread it on, or find those yummy bread sticks to dip into a bowl.
I know most people probably have a good pesto recipe, but if you don't, try this. It is delicious, and whatever you don't use for dinner can go in the fridge for later!
2 cups fresh basil leaves
4-5 garlic scapes (or use 2 cloves of fresh garlic)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pan roasted pine nuts
1/3 cup freshly grated good Parmesan cheese
sea salt to taste (start with just a pinch, depends on how salty your cheese is!)
fresh ground pepper
Place the pine nuts in a hot skillet and stirring often, cook for a minute until just turning golden brown - pull off heat and place in food processor. Roughly chop basil and garlic scapes and add to the food processor. Toss in the cheese, a pinch of sea salt, and a crank or two of fresh pepper. Add a small squeeze of fresh lemon (or adjust for your taste). Whiz for a few seconds and then begin adding the olive oil and process until smooth. You might need to scrape down the side once to get it all incorporated.
Use over fresh pasta or on bruchetta. It is so good and fresh tasting!
Store any extra in a canning jar. Be sure to cover with olive oil in the jar before refrigerating so it stays bright green.
"Pine nuts are nature's only source of pinoleic acid, which stimulates hormones and helps diminish your appetite. Pine nuts have the highest concentration of oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat that aids the liver in eliminating harmful triglycerides from our body. Pine nuts are packed with 3mg of iron per one ounce serving. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment in blood that supplies energy, and they are rich in magnesium which helps alleviate muscle cramps, tension and fatigue."