Pesto for All Seasons

13 Dec

In Italy, you won’t find broccoli or cauliflower in summer markets, and conversely, you generally won’t find large bunches of basil in winter markets. One of the reasons we love the food in Italy is that it is always seasonal.

In the U.S., we too have wonderful seasonal food, however, we often can get “out of season” food nearly all year long. Like those bunches of basil. Hence, I can make fresh pesto on December 13 when the outside temperature is 34°.


Yesterday, I bought three packs of fresh basil from Trader Joe’s. For me, the worst part of making pesto is the prep – carefully washing and drying the leaves and removing the stems.


Although ingredients and directions vary widely, mine are as follows and amounts are suggestions:


To the food processor, add and process until chunky:

  • 5-7 peeled cloves of garlic*
  • 8 ounces of pine and/or walnuts


  • Pack the bowl with 3-4 cups of fresh basil leaves and process quickly until mixed
  • Slowly stream in 1/2 cup olive oil, mix
  • Add 8 ounces of pecorino cheese, mix
  • Add additional olive oil for consistency
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


*I learned something interesting about garlic today. When I peeled the first clove, I noticed it had sprouted.


I had never seen this before, so I did a bit of research. Apparently, sprouted garlic isn’t harmful, it’s just more bitter, so I opted for another garlic head.

When the pesto is ready, and Len and I have completed our taste tests,


I separate the pesto into small containers with tight lids that can be kept in the fridge or freezer. Covering the top of the pesto with olive oil helps maintain the freshness and color. To defrost, I simply leave in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a few hours.


There you have it, pesto tonight, next week, or in a few months, ready whenever our taste buds are yearning, no matter the season. And we don’t limit pesto to pasta – we use it with appetizers or as a marinade on beef, poultry and even fish.







16 Responses to “Pesto for All Seasons”

  1. mmattucci December 13, 2017 at 5:28 PM #


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hilary Martinez December 13, 2017 at 5:34 PM #

    Delicious tips Judy! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ! Best to you and Len, Gustavo and Hilary

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  3. jeanfromcalifornia December 13, 2017 at 10:15 PM #

    Wow! That looks like a great emergency Christmas present. One year I found that inexplicably I was overloaded with olives. So I made jars of Tapenade. Someone dropped by with an unexpected Christmas present so I quickly put a bow on one of the jars and voila! Instant Christmas gift!
    Having said that I am sad I live so far away and can’t bring you a present in hopes of scoring your delicious Pesto. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly December 14, 2017 at 9:22 AM #

      Great idea, and yes, wish you were nearby and we could exchange!


  4. Royce Larsen December 13, 2017 at 10:32 PM #

    Excellent instructions for a do able result
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ANDREA C BAUMGARTNER December 14, 2017 at 9:47 AM #

    Have you tried doing mortar and pestle pesto and comparing it to food processor? Just wanted to know where you stood on that debate.


    • blogginginitaly December 14, 2017 at 11:02 AM #

      Yes I have, but since I am happy with the result I get, I almost always use the processor. But I’d be happy to sample yours if you make it manually!!!


    • ANDREA C BAUMGARTNER December 31, 2017 at 11:12 AM #

      Happy New Year! More food talk for us in 2018. Andrea

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fernanda December 15, 2017 at 1:23 PM #

    Bravissima Judi!
    Pianteremo molto basilico ed aglio quando arriverete a Cortona!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Emily Ragsdale December 17, 2017 at 8:40 PM #

    YUM!!! Thank you so much for that winter suggestion!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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