Last week, Hubs walked in with a forest of basil - we haven't started a real garden down here in Florida yet, but we did buy a basil plant and a few pepper and tomato plants to put in containers on the patio. In an effort to keep the basil from turning into the giant tree we had in North Carolina, we figure regular trims should do the trick.
When I see a big pile of basil, my first thought is always pesto. It's easy, fresh, and versatile - what's not to love? I piled the basil leaves into the food processor and added a handful of pine nuts, some parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Then I ran the processor while drizzling in olive oil.
Tip - pine nuts are oily, so they spoil very easily. When I buy a bag, I immediately pop it in the freezer, and it lasts for years. I keep all nuts in the freezer for this reason, since we don't go through them all that quickly and they can be pretty expensive.
So now that I had made all this pesto, of course I had to work it into our meal, so I fancied up our boxed Annie's Gluten-Free Rice Pasta Shells & White Cheddar with a couple generous spoonfuls of pesto.
I have no idea why this has never occurred to me! I've stirred pesto into plain pasta plenty of times, but never into cheesy pasta. It made an already delicious product into something even more delicious, fresh and special. This will definitely be on the menu again after our next basil trimming.