Every time your BMG (BNG? Bad Nonna Genny for today’s recipe?) walks up to the front door, she’s bombarded with a cloud of basil ambrosia. But she knows it won’t last forever. Soon she’ll be wailing and gnashing her teeth and rending The Boy’s garments (what? They’re not as cute as hers) because she can’t get fresh basil anymore. But she will be encouraged to know that, despite the lack of basil ambrosia in her life, despite the fact that she seems to have reverted to speaking of herself in the third person, there is basilage to be had, and it’s as close as the freezer.
Pesto, peeps! During the summer I make a fresh batch every week, which is about as long as it takes for the monster plants at the front door to become unwieldy again. Then I drop it by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper sheets, roll up the paper, bag it, and stick it in the freezer. By the end of September, I’ve got rolls and rolls of pesto like herbaceous green button candy, and it sees me through until the next year’s plants kick into SEARCH AND FUCKING DESTROY mode.
I keep the pesto on the thick side–easy to spoon, and it stays concentrated so I can use it however which way I like.
SOME EXAMPLES OF HOWEVER WHICH WAY I LIKE:
*Folded full-strength into some softened butter for rolls
*Dropped into soup or stew for quick seasoning
*Thinned with a little pasta cooking water and tossed with your favorite noodles
*Under my arms–all-natural deodorant! (“Is she joking? I hope she’s joking.”)
*Creamed into mayonnaise and adorning a BLT
*Thinned out with some vinegar and drizzled over a salad
*As a cool hipster-y lip gloss (“Where is she going with all these body product jokes?”)
*Spread thinly onto a pizza crust in place of red sauce
*Whisked into scrambled eggs
*Layered in a tomato and mozzarella pie, topped with a biscuit crust
*As an all-natural, scented lube! (“Oh dear God.”)
Okay, so would you like to know how to execute this most marvelous and simple yet impressive feat of domesticity, or would you like your Bad Nonna Genny to give you increasingly more suggestive uses for pes–
–Oh, you’d like the recipe? Okay, then.
5 Minute Pesto Buttons
Makes about 8 buttons, each button equal to approx. 1 1/2 tablespoons pesto
2 cups packed basil leaves
1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts are traditional, but I’ve used walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc. with great results–today I started with slivered almonds)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (BNG is never without it, parmesan is a good substitute)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt ‘n Pepa (the hip-hop duo from the ’90’s, not the seasonings. Okay, fine, I meant the seasonings.)
olive oil (this isn’t exact, but it’s usually around 1/4 cup)
Okay, now toss those basil leaves into the bowl of your food processor.
Now add in the garlic cloves, a few shakes of salt and pepper, and cheese.
Now toss those nuts into a dry skillet, turn the heat to medium, and agitate things around until it’s all toasty–shouldn’t take more than a minute, and they’re usually done when you start to smell them. Observe!
Now drop in those nuts and give the food processor a few good pulses until everything’s all macerated. Now start the motor running and slowly drizzle in olive oil through the feed tube in the top. You should see things start to form a paste. You can add a little more if need be, but I’d just take off the top and check before you do that, just to make sure the oil’s being incorporated. When things form a loose paste, you’re done! Check it for Salt ‘n Pepa (the seasonings, not the ’90’s hip-hop duo), and adjust accordingly.
Now put out a sheet of wax paper and drop the pesto by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the sheet, about 2 inches apart. Lay another sheet of wax paper on top, lightly flatten the pesto mounds into thick, flat buttons for easier storage, and gently roll it up. Pop the roll into a bag, stick it into the freezer, and rest easy, misfits.