For me -- food is love. And certain dishes are always associated with certain events. In this house, Pesto is every July 8th. Elliott's Birthday. It's our first picking of basil...and I always, always make Pesto on that day.
I pride myself on making the best Pesto in Iowa. (I say that in confidence, because I'm the only Iowa person I know who makes it)...
First order of business -- pick the FRESH BASIL LEAVES. I take it out on the porch, fill a bucket with water, and pick off each leaf, putting it in the bucket of water. I lift the leaves out of the first bucket, and place them in a second bucket of clean water. Just to be safe, rinse the leaves for a THIRD TIME...before laying them out in a single layer, on a clean bath towel.
|It's important to remove all sand or dirt..and pick off the flowers and stems...you want THE LEAVES ONLY.|
|You must handle the leaves gently, or they'll turn black. At this point, I roll the towel, to absorb all the water. I let that sit for awhile. An hour or two won't hurt...|
|I know we've discussed this before. But your FOOD PROCESSOR does all the work!!|
|John has a bumper crop of fresh garlic It is SO MUCH BETTER than what is available in the stores. It's juicy and CRISP. I start by putting 3-4 cloves of peeled garlic in the food processor and whirring it good...|
|Then, I add 1/2 cup of English Walnuts...and whir it again...|
After the basil is completely chopped up, I alternate the last two ingredients: Extra Virgin Olive oil and Parmesan Cheese. One batch takes about a cup of each. The consistency you're going for is bottled spaghetti sauce.
|This giant jar of Pesto will be enough for four pounds of spaghetti. All you need is a delicious loaf of Italian bread. YUMMO...|