One of the greatest things about summer is that the produce in your local store or farmer’s market is at its peak. You can enjoy the best and freshest flavors of fresh herbs, vegetables, berries, and fruits and usually, these things are much less expensive than at other times of the year. One of the tastiest flavors of the summer is that of fresh basil.
Basil is a summertime herb that really takes off when the weather is hot and sunny. To enjoy fresh basil, you can use our recipe for Basil and Asiago Pesto. The fresh, delicious flavor of pesto can be enjoyed in many different ways.
One of the most popular ways of eating pesto is to put it on top of a pile of tasty cooked pasta. This traditional way of enjoying pesto really brings out the flavor of the pasta and the basil. However, did you know that there are many other ways of enjoying this delicious sauce?
First of all, try spreading your pesto on a slice of fresh baked bread or a soft, warm dinner roll. The flavors of the basil, cheese, and olive oil are perfect for a light lunch or an afternoon snack.
Second, you can use pesto as a dip for fresh vegetables. Carrots, broccoli, celery, or bell peppers are all made better by using pesto instead of a fat-laden vegetable dip.
Third, you can swap out other sandwich spreads for pesto. If you are in the habit of spreading mayonnaise on your bread for a sandwich, exchanging pesto for this condiment can be a healthier way of garnishing your lunchtime choice. Pesto is made from olive oil, which is full of heart healthy antioxidants, and is lower in unhealthy fats than mayonnaise. Whether you are making a traditional sandwich or a wrap, pesto is great for these picnic favorites.
Fourth, anywhere that you use fresh herbs for flavoring, you can use pesto instead. If you normally stir fresh basil into a soup or a stew or even a sauce for meat, you can add a dollop of pesto. One reason freezing pesto in the summer is such a great idea is that you can enjoy the flavor of fresh herbs all year by popping a blob of frozen pesto into your recipes, even in the dead of winter.
Basil and Asiago Pesto Recipe
- salad spinner
- Paper Towels
- Measuring Cup
- Food Processor
- Small jars
- 2 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh Asiago cheese (or parmesan) shredded
- ½ cup olive oil
- A pinch of salt
- Rinse the fresh basil very well and shake it to dry. You can also use a salad spinner to remove water from the basil. You should let the basil dry on paper towels, patting as needed to make sure that no excess water is included in the pesto.
- Remove the basil leaves from the stems and pack them into your measuring cup. When you have the correct amount of leaves, dump the basil leaves into your food processor. Add the pine nuts, oil, and salt.
- Pulse the mixture until the basil leaves are completely chopped up and the mixture has formed a paste.
- Add the asiago cheese and pulse just until incorporated.
- Store the leftover pesto in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to three days. For longer term storage, you can freeze it in small jars or plastic containers for up to six months.
Related: Pesto Recipes