Pesto: It Must Be Summer!

What Does Summer Taste Like?

You just might get a different answer from every person you ask. Watermelon, cotton candy, Italian ice, homemade vanilla ice-cream from the local dairy, lemonade. Those are some sweeter tasing foods that get some summer tastebuds going. If you’re from Buffalo, New York your answer might be Beef on Weck with a side order of curly fries, and a loganberry drink. From the south?  You might say summer tastes like Key Lime Pie. And Californians may say summer tastes like guacamole since most avocados ripen in late spring through the summer months.

Maybe it depends on your age? The region you grew up in? Or where you currently live? What do you think? What does summer taste like to you?

For me its pesto and I’m not even from Italy. In fact, I don’t even have descendants from Italy. Pesto originates from Genoa, located in the northern region of Italy.  Although there are many variations of pesto, it is typically made with the leaves from basil, and blended with olive oil, garlic, nuts and hard cheeses. Basil is an herb that is sensitive to cold, but grows easily and in abundance in most parts of the United States during the summer months. Yum!

pesto

Fresh pesto is savory and can be enjoyed on almost anything, but most people love it on fresh bread, pasta, or as a simple salad with garden fresh tomatoes. It’s really easy to make (recipe below), and you can freeze it! I will tell you that makes for an extra special summer taste during the cold, harsh, winter months.

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Ingredients

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Directions

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.
 

Enjoy with ANYTHING! Or straight out of the container. For a ‘skinny’ version omit pine nuts and reduce olive oil. 
If you’re curious about pesto you can read more more about the origins of pesto.

 

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