Classic Basil Pesto Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (you can substitute with walnuts for a different twist)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • A squeeze of lemon juice (optional, for a bit of brightness)

Instructions:

  1. Prep Your Ingredients:
    • Wash the basil leaves thoroughly and pat them dry with a paper towel.
    • Peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Toast the Nuts:
    • In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts (or walnuts) until golden brown and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on them to avoid burning.
  3. Blend It All Together:
    • Combine the basil leaves, toasted nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped.
    • Add the grated Parmesan cheese and pulse a few more times.
  4. Add the Olive Oil:
    • With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Stop and scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula as needed. Continue to blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  5. Season and Finish:
    • Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. If you like, add a squeeze of lemon juice for extra brightness.
    • Blend again briefly to mix in the seasoning.
  6. Store and Serve:
    • Transfer the pesto to a jar or an airtight container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.
    • Basil pesto is perfect for tossing with pasta, spreading on sandwiches, or drizzling over grilled meats and vegetables.

Got Some Veggies Ready? Garden-Fresh Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Vegetables:
    • Wash all the vegetables thoroughly.
    • Dice the eggplant and bell peppers.
    • Slice the zucchini and yellow squash.
    • Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
  2. Cook the Vegetables:
    • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
    • Add the diced eggplant to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add the sliced zucchini and yellow squash, cooking for another 5 minutes.
    • Finally, add the diced bell peppers and tomato to the skillet.
  3. Season the Ratatouille:
    • Sprinkle the dried thyme, oregano, salt, and black pepper over the vegetables.
    • Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let the vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and the flavors meld together.
  4. Serve and Garnish:
    • Remove the skillet from the heat once the vegetables are tender.
    • Transfer the ratatouille to a serving dish.
    • Garnish with fresh basil leaves before serving.

Tips:

  • Ratatouille can be served hot as a main dish with crusty bread or as a side dish to complement grilled meats or fish.
  • For added flavor, drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar before serving.
  • This dish can be made ahead of time and reheated, allowing the flavors to develop even more.

Enjoy your fresh and healthy garden-fresh ratatouille!