Harvest Time – Pesto


I have three basil plants in the garden, one of which is quite large. This means it’s time to harvest and make a batch of pesto! I wanted to make it traditionally, using pine nuts. I picked them up at Valentino’s on Fresh Pond Road. For imported Italian products, Valentino’s is my go-to market. My sista-in-law Clare likes using walnuts – they’re easier to find, cheaper and she prefers the taste. Use whichever you like.

Instead of a food processor, (which I don’t have) I decided to use my favorite relic: the garlic chopper.

The chopper - Old School

When I left the nest and moved to Ridgewood, my mother gave me this chopper. It’s not as easy or fast as using an electric food processor, but every time I chop with it, I think of my mom and how she passed the chopper down to me, in an effort to “help me get on my feet” in my very own kitchen.¬† It’s nice to slow things down a bit when cooking, it gives you time to think, remember and enjoy the moment.


The manual chopper makes a chunkier pesto – which works nicely with meats. I sheered chicken on the stove top with oil and garlic, used my chunky pesto and boiled a pot of macaroni (drool)!


Makes 1 cup:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano (I prefer this over parmesan)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (don’t use cheap stuff)
1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
4 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Food Processor: Mix all ingredients in a food processor except the olive oil, salt and pepper. If the nuts are whole, pulse them first. Once smooth, slowly add the olive oil, then salt and pepper.

Manual Chopper: Chop the nuts. Mince the garlic and basil by hand with a knife. Combine all ingredients  in a bowl Рmix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Seal tightly in a container. You can freeze pesto. If you do, put a layer of olive oil on top of the pesto mixture – this prevents browning.





tagged in basil, gardening, pesto