There once was a boy named LeGreg. Soon after he started dating his girlfriend, he met her mom and they discovered their mutual love of cooking and gardening. "I have to buy her this special basil plant! She'll love it!" he said. His girlfriend thought it charming that he wanted to buy her mother a gift, so she went along with it. The two of them raided every nursery in Chico to find this one variety of basil. Pesto basil, he says it's called. "It doesn't have that weird licorice taste that regular basil has and it makes really good...PESTO!". His girlfriend wasn't convinced that it was worth all the effort to find, but he insisted. And find, he did.
He gave my mom the little basil plant. It has light green leaves, with a creamy white trim. He certainly didn't need any additional points with her, but she loved the gift and planted it not in the herb garden, but right smack dab in the middle of the yard for all to see.
The plant likes her yard about as much as she likes him and grew to be a huge shrub (at the bottom of it in the pic, you can see a brick for size)! I couldn't let ALL that basil go to waste, so yesterday was the day that I was to make pesto for the first time everrrrrr. DUN DUN DUN!! I dug around and settled on this recipe.
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Place almonds on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
- In a food processor, combine toasted almonds, garlic, basil, olive oil, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Process until a coarse paste is formed.
I doubled the recipe and it made about 1-1/2c of sauce, and I used a blender. My mom made her own version, the typical garlic/pine nuts/Parmesan cheese. MINE WAS TOTALLY BETTER!! Super good. The almonds gave it a nice nutty flavor (bonus: they're good for you!!). I haven't actually eaten it on anything yet, but the taste test was delish and I'm super stoked about it. Since I used a total of about 1/100th of that basil bush, I'll probably be making a ton more soon. Success!