12 August 2013
pesto: the taste of summer
It was Francesca who first inspired me to mix up a batch of pesto, and while I consult her original pesto post each summer, I now have the confidence to judge the proportions according to my taste buds. Traditional pesto is a combination of fresh basil leaves, Parmigiano Reggiano, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil. I use Grana Padano instead of parmesan because it's the hard cheese made in these parts, specifically down the road at the caseficio in Ponte di Barbarano.
This summer I never managed to get basil plants going well before the great summer stateside visit, but as soon as I returned I bought four small organic plants from a farm in Padova at my local grocery store, for less than 2 Euro a plant. They are thriving in this hotter-than-hot August heat, and I've already "harvested" enough leaves for a couple of rounds of pesto, with several more to go.
We usually enjoy it with pasta (trofie) or as a savory spread on bread, and then I freeze the rest in an ice tray. After several hours in the freezer when the pesto cubes are good and frozen, I pop them out of the tray and place them into a freezer bag: "fresh" pesto, the taste of summer, all winter long...oh yes! It also keeps well for a bit in the fridge in a glass jar, with the top layer covered in olive oil.
So what are you waiting for?! I bet it would be a great addition to your summer menu as well.