Despite my best efforts to keep them cool, this last heat wave was too much for my basil plants. They have bolted, which means they’ve shot up their flower stalk and soon their leaves will turn bitter. It’s not terrible news since the flowers are very sweet and attract bees, and I’ll be able to collect seeds from them to plant in spring or trade with my fellow seed-swappers. But it does mean these plants are on their way out so I decided to seize the moment and whip up a nice pesto.
Pesto is really easy to make with a few fresh ingredients: basil, garlic, olive oil, nuts, parmesan cheese and salt. Typically pine nuts are used but I never have pine nuts on hand so I just used the macadamia nuts I had. That’s what I love about pesto – there are no rules! I’ve made it a bunch of times and always substitute at least one ingredient. I’ve even substituted kale and cilantro when I didn’t have basil on hand. It’s different but delicious!
So I gathered up my basil leaves and put half into my blender along with the nuts and minced garlic. Once I had a nice thick semi-chunky mixture I added the rest of the basil and gave it another whirl. Once it was blended but before it was too smooth I slowly added olive oil, blending continuously. I put the cheese and salt in last and after another quick whirl it’s done. Easy peasy!
I didn’t end up with a ton of sauce, but pesto goes a long way so I was able to freeze a jar and still have enough left over for Homemade Pesto Pizza. Yes, it is italicized and capitalized because it was That Good!
Making pizza at home is one of my favorite things to do. All summer we made pizzas, usually on the grill, using whatever was growing in the garden. It’s really fun to have friends over and everyone can make their own personal pizza with their favorite toppings. This time it was just the two of us so we decided to spread pesto over the crust then top it with caramelized onions, sliced zucchini and spinach.
We popped this bad-boy in the oven and twenty minutes later, voila! Just before eating we sprinkled fresh basil over the top and a dash of chili flakes.
Here’s a close-up you can print out and eat at home (yeah, don’t do that):
This pizza made me feel a lot better about that bolting basil!