And if you don't have basil, you can make a pesto sauce with just about any greens you have. See my recipe for roasted carrot grilled cheese with carrot top pesto that I made up last year. Fantastic!
The ancient Romans ate a paste called moretum, which was made by crushing cheese, garlic and herbs together. Basil, the main ingredient of modern pesto, likely originated in India and was first domesticated there. Basil took the firmest root in the regions of Liguria, Italy and Provence, France. The Ligurians around Genoa took the dish and adapted it, using a combination of basil, crushed garlic, grated hard cheese (a mix of parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino or just one of the two), and pine nuts with a little olive oil to form pesto. - Wikipedia.
So before the dog days of Summer start wreaking havoc on your plants, now is the perfect time to start reaping the fruits of your gardening labor. Here is my standard go-to recipe:
1-2 large handfuls of basil leaves, washed and dried.
1/2 cup sesame seeds, shelled and toasted.
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 pinches of coarse sea salt
4-6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
|Toast the seeds in a large pan, stirring frequently. You can toast them to whatever level of toastiness you like, but the longer they toast, the stronger the flavor - until they become bitter. |
This was after about 5 minutes on medium low heat.
|Here's a trick: pull the seeds out of the pan just BEFORE you think they're ready and transfer them to a cool plate. |
They will continue to cook slightly while they're cooling.
Make sure they are completely cool before adding them to the processor.