The Freshness of Spring

Keith Bryant

The leaves are coming in on the trees and everything is anew again with the spring weather and warmth of the sun.  My herb garden sprouted big bunches of basil in the last couple of weeks and not to let a good thing go to waste, I harvested some to make pesto. What is pesto?  Pesto is a raw sauce made from crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino cheese made from sheep's milk, all blended with olive oil.  The word pesto is from the Italian word pesta, which means to pound or crush.  The original was made with a mortar and pestle. Basil is found in the regions of Liguria, Italy, and Provence, France.  It was abundant in this part of Italy, though only when in season, which is why marjoram and parsley are suggested as alternatives when basil is lacking. 


The nice think about pesto is there are no limitations on what ingredients you can use in it.  I have used almond, walnuts and even pecans instead of the pricy pinenuts when making pesto.  It can be used on almost everything.  Chicken, beef, and even pork goes great with this fresh sauce.  Adding it to pasta is just a little something extra.  I recently got my order from and brought in a nice strong Greek olive oil to use in making the pesto.   Using a good parmesan Cheese with the right amount of saltiness will keep you from adding extra salt. When your garden is in full bloom this year, break out the food processer (yep no reason to use mortar and pestle) and make a little pesto for the year.  You can place it in ice cube trays and freeze them and take out a couple at a time or place in a Ziplock bag and flatten out in freezer, making it easier to breaks some off in a recipe.   



2 c. fresh basil, tightly packed 

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil 

1/4 c. pine nuts 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

Kosher salt 

1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan 

Combine basil, oil, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Add a 

large pinch of salt and process until smooth. 

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and stir in Parmesan. Taste and season with 

more salt, if needed. 


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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