My family and I spent yesterday visiting our local farmer's market and taking a trip to a "semi" local farm, where the honored guest seemed to be pumpkins. I love this time of year, passing all of the fields and seeing the beautiful orange globes lying everywhere. Mixed into the lush green landscape, this is art at its best. Pumpkins are not the only produce to be admired though. Now is the time to pick up great deals on apples, pears, winter squashes, potatoes, tomatoes and basil.
I have a difficult time growing basil at my house. If I start too early, the wet weather rots my plants. In the summer, it's too hot...or maybe I forget to water them...! When using the greenhouse, I have to worry about rodents. (This is where I *shudder*!) I've just never had too much luck with basil, but my family LOVES it! I usually buy a tray of organic basil each week and keep it on the counter, in a jar (or cute coffee mug) of water, as a reminder of the delicious meals it is going to end up in. The smell of this pungent herb, follows me, just begging for a dish that is as worthy as thee. Too dramatic? Basil is worth the extra drama...trust me. If you haven't used fresh basil before, here is an easy sauce to prepare.
Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce
1 bunch basil leaves, no stems (approx. 1/2 -3/4 cup
4-6 cloves of garlic (we use 6, but our neighbors don't live too close!
1/4 cup pine nuts (in a pinch, I've also used walnuts)
2-3 Tbl. grated Parmesan (not the canned stuff)
olive oil (I haven't measured this, but start with 1/3 cup)
Place basil, garlic and pine nuts in food processor. While running on low speed, gradually start adding olive oil. Add until the consistency is a semi-thick liquid. Add the cheese and just pulse to blend. (You do not have to heat this up, the heat from the pasta will heat it up for you.)
Mix with your favorite pasta and be the superstar of the meal!