THIS WEEK’S HIT: Nut-Free Pesto
See those flowers over there in the photo? That’s our farm’s way of saying “We’re sorry about June.”
If you didn’t experience our June, you probably heard about it. Cloudy. Chilly. Wet. Repeat. Good weather for growing lettuce and other greens, apparently; kind of hard on the other crops.
The weather improved a bit recently, and the CSA bag that we picked up on July 17 was light, but it had new things:
1 bunch basil; 1 pint blueberries; 6 ears corn; 1/2 pound green beans; 1 bunch kale; 1 huge head Boston lettuce; and 3 summer squash. The hanging bag of impatiens was the perk.Now it happens that we picked up our first-ever CSA basket just a year ago, on July 18, 2008, so we can compare weeks:
1 bunch basil; 1 pint blueberries; 12 ears corn; 13 pickling cucumbers; 4 regular cucumbers; 1 bunch dill; 2 pounds green beans; 2 heads red leaf lettuce; 1 head romaine lettuce; 4 spring onions; 3 pattypan squash; 1 pint raspberries; 3 summer squash; 2 bunches Swiss chard; and 10 zucchini.That turned out to be a representative week for the summer. See what a little sunshine can do around here?
We kept the vegetables mostly plain this week – boiled corn, steamed beans, sauteed kale. The summer squash were sliced, sauteed with onions and garlic, and then simmered with a homemade tomato sauce. I served them with pasta and a nice dollop of basil pesto.
Because I can’t use nuts in my cooking, I use this pesto recipe, modified from one printed some years back in The Boston Globe. You can freeze the basil puree, without the cheese, in ice cube trays. Just add some cheese after defrosting. I sometimes throw a cube of this into soup or stew.
(makes about 1.5 cups)
1 clove garlic, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil, or less to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a food processor, combine the garlic and salt and pulse to chop. Add the basil and oil. Pulse the mixture until it is finely pureed but is not a smooth paste.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more chopped garlic if desired. If using immediately, stir in the cheese. Otherwise, cover the pesto tightly and refrigerate. Add the cheese just before serving.