One of our favourite homemade things to have in our freezer is pesto. We use it to make dips, pasta sauces, spread it on pizza, mixed with mayo to dress up a sandwich. It’s so good spread on a slice of toasted baguette and topped with a sliced tomato. There are more ideas here.
The beautiful thing is that it is super easy and relatively cheap to make – especially if you grow your own basil. If you don’t have your own basil, it’s abundant at the market (you could pick some up tonight! The Guelph Farmer’s Market is open until 7.) This week 3 litres of olive oil was on sale at No Frills, making it even more of a deal. Get the kids to help you – who doesn’t love holding down the button on the food processor.
To make a batch (about 1 cup) you need:
1/2 a cup of walnuts, almonds or pine nuts. (Walnuts are our favourite and we buy them in bulk.)
1 or more cloves of garlic
1/2 a cup of olive oil
2 cups washed and loosely packed basil leaves
salt to taste (we use a scant 1/4 tsp per batch)
1/4 to 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
In a food processor or blender grind the nuts and garlic to a paste like consistency.
Add in 1/4 cup of the oil and the basil leaves and blend.
Continue adding in oil until you get to an easily spreadable paste.
If we are freezing it we skip the cheese and just add it to the pesto when we are using it. Sometimes we skip it all together if it is going into a dish that already has cheese (like pizza or some pastas.)
If you are not freezing it, add in the cheese and continue to blend well. Test it (yumm) and add salt if needed.
Pesto keeps really well in the freezer. We put it in small canning jars, but you can also freeze it in ice cube trays or even as little blobs on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then just toss them in a bag and keep them in your freezer.