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Lucinda Hutson is the author of The Herb Garden Cookbook (an organic gardening book and cookbook, peppered with personal anecdotes.) She lives in a purple house surrounded by whimsical gardens in Austin, Texas. She writes gardening, cooking and lifestyle features for national magazines, such as Fine Gardening, Southern Living, Horticulture, Edible Austin and The Herb Companion. Lucinda lectures across the country at arboretums, conferences, and garden clubs, and hosts PBS tours of her gardens.
You can order The Herb Garden Cookbook at lucindahutson.com.
Making pesto is a wonderful way to preserve the summer's basil harvest. Freezing it in ice cube trays or small freezer bags gives me just the right amount for pasta, soups, sauces and cheese spreads to brighten winter meals. I've created various recipes — other than traditional Italian pesto — by using different varieties of basil and unexpected ingredients.
My Purple Pesto features dark opal basil, rosemary, and sun-dried tomatoes; Asian-inspired High Thai Pesto includes Thai basil, peppers, ginger and peanuts; Luscious Lemon-Basil Pesto includes almonds.
This pesto is especially delightful over grilled fish, shrimp, or chicken and is wonderful with rice, pasta, or steamed green beans.
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process basil and garlic. Add almonds and cheese, then slowly add the olive oil. Process to get the desired consistency. Add more olive oil if desired. Makes about 1 cup.
I like to stuff this pesto under the skin of chicken breasts and melt it over grilled fish or chicken. It tastes fabulous tossed with fettuccine with more sun-dried tomatoes or used in a cheese torta garnished with additional purple basil sprigs.
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process basil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and parmesan. Slowly add the oil; add the rosemary and chiles. Blend to desired consistency. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
The strong and spicy perfume and anise flavor of Thai basil makes this pesto taste exotic. Use this pesto as a condiment for shrimp and serve it on vermicelli noodles embellished with grated carrots, chopped green onions, bean sprouts and cucumbers.
In a small bowl, combine peanut oil and sesame oil; set aside. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process garlic, ginger and Thai chiles. Slowly add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, except for the reserved oil mixture, and grind to a thick paste. Add the oil to achieve the desired consistency. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Last updated: 8/14/19
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