I love basil. Nothing smells like summer to me more than basil. I have several bush-like plants that I am hoping to winter over in the house, but I know it won't fare very well because I don't have a lot of direct sunlight. So I've opted to make pesto.
Pesto is a great way to preserve that lovely flavour for the winter. You can enjoy it on pasta (with sour cream and Parmesan), spread on a sandwich or wrap, or in a soup or casserole to add a pop of flavour.
Traditionally pesto is made with basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and a hard cheese such as parmesan or romano. I used walnuts because they work just as well as pine nuts... (and they're way cheaper). I used roasted garlic because I prefer a more muted garlic flavour, but if you like that sharp fresh garlic flavour, go for it.
Be prepared for what seems like a huge amount of basil to reduce to about 2 cups of pesto.
7 cups loosely-packed basil leaves
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic
Slow-roast the walnuts in a cast-iron pan or in the oven until browned.
Throw the whole lot in the food processor and pulse a few times to get it going then blend until smooth. Add more oil if you want a smoother texture.
Scoop into jars and try not to eat it all at once.
It will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks, or in the freezer for months.