Pesto!

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Pesto has become an essential item in my kitchen over the past few years.  It turns pasta into an "open the fridge and chew" food.  I always cook too much pasta. It comes from trying to cook for two. When I learned to cook, I learned to cook for seven.  Left over pasta is a wonderful thing.  I keeps well in plastic containers and you can throw just about anything on it to make a quick meal.  Chop up a fresh tomato and throw a cube of pesto into it, microwave for a few seconds and toss it into the pasta for an awesome 3 minute meal.  Put a cube of pesto in a bowl and cover with cream or milk...zap on moderate heat and you have instant Alfredo sauce.   Always drop two or three cubes into the spaghetti sauce (and stop worrying about how to season it properly, cause you just did).

This is a traditional Feast or Famine recipe.  You can use pine nuts when you have the cash, or in leaner years, you can substitute cashews.  I have even used walnuts with amazingly good results.  The truth is, with all that garlic and Parmesan, who can taste the nuts?

I grow basil in a big planter on my back porch in the summer.  I always start them from seeds and have such luck with it that I land up transplanting seedlings to every available nook and cranny in my yard.  It likes lots of sun and doesn't seem to be a taste delight for slugs or other such garden pests.  I Always cut it back at the first sign of flowering and let it grow back again.  One planting will give me two good crops this way.  

1 cups fresh basil leaves

2 – 5 garlic cloves, peeled.

cup pine nuts (or cashews or walnuts)

cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Load it all into your food processor and puree until a smooth paste is formed.   Spoon into ice cube trays and freeze.  Store cubes in plastic bags in your freezer.