There is a word that all gardeners are afraid of come fall. It shoots fear into our hearts and can make us weep. That word is frost.
Frost can ruin what’s left of the garden (well, except for the frost tolerant brussels sprouts, kale and winter squash of course).
I heard rumblings that frost was coming this weekend. It scared me enough that I brought in a bowl full of green tomatoes, a basket of jalapenos, a small truck load of green peppers, 4 mini eggplants and more basil than you can shake a stick at.
Well the good news is that we didn’t get any frost. This is great since I forgot to pull in the swiss chard and I still have a lot of eggplant buds that now have a chance. Yay!
The bad news (well, kind of) is that I have to do something with all the stuff I “saved”.
First on my list – pesto. There are a million ways to make pesto. The classic version consists of basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan.
I decided to mix it up a bit this time around. The main reason is because of the pine nut shortage! Have you heard about this? You’ll notice the next time you buy pine nuts and they ask for your first born at the register. Seriously, the cost is out of control right now. I’m happy to tell you that you can still make a killer pesto without them.
I opted for a mix of walnuts and almonds and then kept the rest of the recipe true to the classic. This makes a huge batch. I chose to freeze most of it and keep a small jar in the fridge.
Mixed Nut Pesto
Note: I have heard that if you are going to freeze it, you shouldn’t add the parmesan cheese. You should wait until you’re actually ready to use it. I’ve done it both ways and can’t tell the difference so I freeze the cheese. It’s just easier. I trust you’ll do what you think is right.
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
6 cloves garlic
6 cups packed basil
Generous pinches of salt and pepper
1 cup olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350.
Place the nuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Place nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until ground.
Add basil, salt and pepper. While the processor is running, slowly stream in the olive oil until smooth.
Add the cheese and process for another 30 seconds.
Place in jars either for the fridge or freezer. I top mine with olive oil to keep things from oxidizing and extra olive oil is never a bad thing.
I’ve had no problem with pesto in the freezer for a year or even longer. In the fridge, it will last longer by keeping olive oil on top.
What do you do with all this pesto? Here are a few ideas.
- Mix with hot pasta and some of the pasta water and top with more cheese.
- Mix with mayo and have fancy sandwiches.
- Drizzle over roasted veggies.
- Mix with mashed potatoes – this is a great idea on St. Patrick’s Day.
What do you do with pesto? I could use more ideas since I now have a ton more to use!