Sunday, October 31, 2010

from the garden to the table : : winter pesto

Sadly, the garden is coming to an end for this season. We’ve gotten to eat many great meals this summer from ingredients we’ve grown, which has been satisfying both because we grew them and because produce is far better when freshly picked at optimum ripeness. But, with winter approaching, it is time to start preparing the garden for winter, which includes about 3-4 feet of snow (a bit more than a meter) and temperatures that generally range from 5 to 25 degrees (-15 to -4). Basil, however, begins to die with temperatures far warmer than that. Anything below 50 (10) will begin to leave black spots on the leaves that look like frost damage. So, with nights now well below 50, the basil had to go.
Pesto is the answer to the very lovely and large basil plant in the backyard. While there are many recipes, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone had a fabulous recipe that I follow. It is a classic with basil, parmesan, pecorino romano, pine-nuts, olive oil, salt and butter.
To save it for the winter, put it into an ice cube tray and freeze it. When you want to remember the tastes of summer, all you need to do is toss a pesto cube with some pasta or gnocchi and you’re set for a simple dinner.  

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