I spent the summer fixated on my herb garden or to be more precise, the basil growing in front and cordoned off with a small trench containing snail-discouraging material (ok, slug and snail bait.) Sorry if I just ruined the visual here but past experience has taught me this is one necessary step. And yes, I could eat them – the snails – since someone published an article about cleaning the pests last year but basil is so much tastier when it becomes PESTO!
By late August my work paid off and I had enough basil to start my annual pesto assembly line. First, I gently toasted the pine nuts so as not to burn them, and then set up the garlic, basil, nuts, salt, pepper, cheese and oil all in a line on my dining room table. I assigned a friend to be the food processing engineer and quality assurance taster (not too much salt or oil) and with a push of the pulse button we whirred our way to pesto production. While the entire process always seems a little labor intensive, most of the work is in the ingredient preparation stages. Once we swung into action the whole process took a fast hour to complete.
Many tubs of pesto – lodged securely in my freezer – later, we participated in the ultimate taste test. We whipped up a batch of fusilli pesto and marveled at the activity of the day. For me, it’s another annual food ritual which captures a bit of summer to save for a rainy, cold Northern California day (and yes, it DOES get cold in California!) Next up, chili and pumpkin ravioli – yum!