Purple Pesto

Since the beginning of July, I’ve been buying basil by the bucketful from our neighborhood farmers’ market.  We used to grow it ourselves, but didn’t yet get around to setting up our container garden since moving here – but one vendor sells stuffed baggies of it, $4 for 5 bags, and I’ve been stocking up every weekend.

Usually we get Genovese or Big Leaf, since we use it almost exclusively to make pesto, but this week there was only one bag of each by the time we arrived – but they were also selling a variety I hadn’t seen before: the beautiful dark purple Red Rubin.

It smelled pretty good, so we brought it home and tossed it in our tiny food processor with some garlic (also from the farmers’ market – Music variety), pine nuts, parmesan, and olive oil…

… and tried it out on some pasta for Sunday’s dinner.

I was running short on time, so John kindly grabbed my camera and shot some photos of it – I definitely didn’t want to use it all without getting a few shots of its purple prettiness.  Unfortunately, when you hand the camera to a rogue outside photographer, they sometimes go off-assignment.

Hey, what?  You’re supposed to be taking photos of the pesto, not me.

This may be the first time I experienced for myself the look I so often get from other family members who I too-frequently photograph.

The pesto turned out great, although since I didn’t boil it for a moment before processing it – which I rarely do, because while I like the color retention, I think the flavor is much better unboiled – the purple was not very apparent once applied to the pasta.

But it was tasty, regardless, and now we’re up to … maybe 20 meals’ worth of pesto now stored in the freezer?  (As the amount of ice cream has steadily decreased while I make more and more pesto each Sunday, the balance of freezer contents is inexorably shifting toward the Savory over the Sweet.)

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12 thoughts on “Purple Pesto

    • Hmm, I didn’t quite think of it as giving a recipe, but I guess that’s almost what it was, wasn’t it? If you want the proportions, for every bag of basil (about 1 cup of packed leaves) I use 1 medium clove of garlic, a scant 1/4 cup of pine nuts, about 1/4 cup of parmesan, and however much olive oil causes the mixture to come together nicely – but it’s all very variable. More or less of anything to taste ought to work!

        • I collect up leftover containers – whenever I buy mascarpone or sour cream or yogurt, we wash and save the tubs for leftovers, and I use the small ones (7-8 oz) for a meal’s worth of pesto. For us, a “meal’s worth” is actually about 2/3 lb. of pasta, since after we cook and have it for dinner, we like to have some leftovers for lunches.

          But if I had an ice cube tray, I’d probably use my Mom’s method, of freezing ice cube sized amounts, storing them in baggies, and then grabbing the correct number for whatever amount of pasta I want.

    • It is definitely easy and healthy! In case you don’t see my comment above, here are the proportions I usually use, although any of them can be increased or decreased to taste: for every bag of basil (about 1 cup of packed leaves), 1 medium clove of garlic, a scant 1/4 cup of pine nuts, about 1/4 cup of parmesan, and drizzle in the olive oil until it’s a nice paste-y texture. It’s a very forgiving recipe.

  1. I never thought about the taste difference. I’ll have to modify my strategy. BTW, molding the pesto in silicone ice cube trays work great. With the flexibility they have, the frozen cubes are much easier to unfold. Once frozen. Pop cubes in a zip lock bag.

    Uncle Craig paid me a nice compliment. He said that you sound just like me in you blog. I am hanging onto that one!

    • I do like the ice cube tray method, but unfortunately now we have a fancy ice cube maker – and no ice cube tray. I suppose I could buy one…

      Once in a while we still boil the basil, but only if I’m making potatos and chard for dinner: chard boiled in basil water tastes just the same as boiled basil…

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