Peggy's Pesto and more recipes...

RUN don't walk and go buy yourself a basil plant. You say you don't have a garden! Do you have a sunny spot and water? Then you have the beginnings of a garden. To start your garden plant a basil plant in a good size pot. As it grows keep plucking off the leaves and make yourself or family some of the many dishes in which basil is a star. Dishes like pesto, pistou and pizza sauce. All these dishes can be made now while basil is plentiful then frozen to be used all year round. Here are 3 recipes that you can make now and freeze.


2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. pine nuts
4 clove garlic
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbs. softened unsalted butter

Put basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender. Blend or process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese and butter. This sauce will melt over warm pasta. If freezing put in small freezer bags, small canning jars or plastic containers.


4 med plum tomatoes, or 1 pound
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup white wine

Pour boiling water over tomatoes, so skins come off easily. Peel and chop. Heat oil in sauce pan over med heat. Add tomatoes and garlic, Saute for 5 minutes. Add basil , wine and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Take off lid and turn the heat up to medium. Reduce sauce until it's about 1 cup. This you will have to eyeball. I freeze this is small bags also. Summer time is when tomatoes are inexpensive too. I use this on my famous deep dish pizza. (recipe will be given upon request )


1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup loosely packed basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients and whirl until smooth. Makes about 1/3 cup.
Pistou is the the french version of pesto. They use this sauce to flavor many things. It is an explosion of flavors. The recipe that follows in a french soup called "Beef soup au pistou". If you read the recipes it really is a glorified hamburger soup. But wait until you taste this soup! it will become a favorite in your homes. Bon Appetit!


2 Tbs. Olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. lean hamburger
1 large onion thinly sliced
1 clove garlic
1 28 oz can tomatoes cut into small pieces
2 cans beef broth
2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
1 pound green beans (fresh when possible)
1/4 pound vermicelli, broken up
1/2 cup finely grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese (if you afford it go for the Gruyere)

In a 5-6 quart pot saute hamburger in olive oil. As the meat begins to brown add onion and garlic and continue to saute until onion are soft. Add tomatoes, water, broth, salt and pepper and potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. After the soup has simmered for 1 hour. Add the vermicelli and green beans. Cook until pasta is just tender. Add cheese about 2 Tbs. at a time, stirring until each batch melts. Right before you serve stir in your pistou and serve at once. Use a Little cheese to garnish the top.

I hope you enjoy the recipes. They are tried, tested and loved. Next week I will be posting some new recipes about cooking with other fresh herbs. I believe we should be eating whats in our garden. Or whats at our local farmers market. Remember "Eat Locally"

Cheers. Peggy
The Lavender Apple