Pesto Bounty

by Sabastian | October 19th, 2010

When we first planted basil, years ago, we planted an enormous amount because we loved pesto so much we wanted basil all year. We thought we had to pull the whole plant up to harvest it. Not so. With a small patch of basil you can have a seemingly endless supply of Pesto Bounty all year.

This little patch has given us more batches of pesto than I can remember. There are so many ways to enjoy basil and pesto. We’ve made Pesto Pasta, Pesto Pizza, Insalata Caprese (tomatoes-basil-mozzarella), Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil and mid-night snackers is spreading fresh pesto on sour dough french bread. (Note from Chef: Swab out the Osterizer with bread. Yumm!)

As the basil grows we harvest only the crowns, allowing new crowns to sprout and mature. On each stalk, just below the crown, there are small shoots ready to take over and grow into new crowns.

Each time you top the plant it is doubled with two more shoots. Crowning allows you regularly harvest the true bounty the plant has to offer. Basil doesn’t need to dominate your garden area to be plentiful.

Don’t let the plants flower or the growth process will shift to reproduction. If you want seeds for the next year let one of the plants mature after the first few toppings.

A basic pesto paste can be used in numerous ways. This is a simple basic pesto recipe. You should tinker with ingredient amounts to develop a receipt that suits your palette. Don’t be afraid of varying the amounts. You will soon have a recipe that you can call your own:

Pesto Bounty

* 2 packed cup fresh basil leaves washed and spun
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup pine nuts
* 5 large garlic cloves cut in pieces
* 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground salt
* large pinch coarse ground black pepper

Layer half the oil, garlic and pine nuts; add basil leaves, cheese, salt, pepper, then remaining oil. Puree in blender until smooth. Makes over a cup aromatic Pesto Bounty from Green Garden Goodness.

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