Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

Tofino Pesto Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

I’ve never considered myself a pesto-making person. You have to mulch so much fresh basil – which I’ve never managed to keep alive myself – to produce even a teeny jar, that I found it easy to convince myself to drop $4 and procure some premade stuff at the grocery store.

Basil Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

But then one day in Tofino my friend Cathy texted to ask if I might be able to use a bag of fresh basil from the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild she didn’t have time for? Why yes, yes I can. Turns out while there are plenty of things to do with fresh basil, there aren’t as many ways to use up several large handfuls of it, especially when you’re heading home the next day.

Basil 3 Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

I didn’t want to go out and buy pine nuts and Parmesan, but I had brought a wedge of Grizzly Gouda with us, and picked up some sliced almonds for who knows what. I toasted the almonds, grated the Gouda, packed everything down in a blender (a food processor would make a far easier job of it) and coaxed it around with olive oil. A couple cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt, and yowzah – now I understand why people make this stuff from scratch. Although I’ll never veer from extra-aged Gouda.

Basil 2 Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

We ate a lot of it straight from the blender with a spoon. Then tossed some with spaghetti to bring on the ferry in a peanut butter jar (it turns out I am in fact my father’s daughter), and when we got home, I froze it sausage-style, something I just learned from a friend at CBC.

Pesto 3 Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

Paul told me not long ago that his dad makes pesto and freezes it in a little chain, sausage-style. To do this, pull out a piece of plastic wrap and fold it in half lengthwise.

Pesto 4 Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

Drop spoonfuls of pesto – as big or small as you’ll use – at 2-inch intervals, then fold the plastic over it and twist in between each blob, making links of pesto you can freeze. When you need some pesto, snip a blob off the end. Genius, no?

Pesto 5 Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

The formula: roughly 6 loose cups of fresh basil leaves, a standard ($10) wedge of Grizzly Gouda, 1/2-1 cup of toasted sliced almonds, a few good cloves of garlic, and a good big pinch of sea salt. Plus about a cup of good olive oil to get it all moving.

Pesto 6 Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto

But really, like hummus, pesto can be adjusted according to taste, and what you have on hand. I love recipes that require the cook to dip a spoon in and taste along the way.

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August 20 2012 09:23 pm | preserves

14 Responses to “Basil, Almond & Grizzly Gouda Pesto”

  1. Jennifer Jo on 21 Aug 2012 at 5:16 am #

    I like the sausage storage idea! Ice cube trays work, too.

    I make mountains of pesto in the summer (4-6 batches at a go), and my new favorite way is with butter and pumpkin seeds. The butter keeps the pesto from turning brown. http://bit.ly/Rd21VV

  2. Lana on 21 Aug 2012 at 7:07 am #

    That looks magnificent! I have always shied away from making homemade pesto, too. But I will try it now that you have described how easy and versatile it is. YUM!

  3. Holly on 21 Aug 2012 at 7:17 am #

    Brilliant. I’ve been freezing pesto in an icecube tray that I can’t use for anything else. This is way more convenient.

  4. Melissa {Being a Bear} on 21 Aug 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Love that method of storing pesto! Thanks for the tip. :)

  5. Margaret on 21 Aug 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Wow, what a cool way to freeze it! Now I’ve gotta try pesto with different cheeses, too. Thanks.

  6. Anita on 21 Aug 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    How about a Vita-mix? I think it will blend really well in it.

  7. jeri on 21 Aug 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Great freezing idea. My freezer is very dry so I could never do the ice cube tray thing. And Jennifer Jo, thanks for the pumpkin seed tip. I love basil, but nuts, not so much. I think I will finally make some pesto.

  8. Kelly on 22 Aug 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I never realised how easy pesto was to make! I always assumed it was one of those fancy-schmancy things that you just kind of HAD to buy! Good thing I’ve got a birthday party/house warming coming up where I can put this to good use! Yummy!

  9. Robyn on 23 Aug 2012 at 5:38 am #

    i also freeze leftover tomato paste like this! works well when you only need 1 tbsp or so.

  10. Nikki on 28 Aug 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Thanks for the storing tip. I just made a fenugreek pesto to help with breastfeeding and will need to store!

  11. Kale & Spring Greens Pesto » Dinner With Julie on 20 Mar 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    […] never made it myself. I assumed it would be a lesser pesto – not as full-flavoured as that made with loads of fresh basil. Turns out I was wrong. It’s not the first […]

  12. Sarah on 25 Oct 2013 at 5:59 am #

    That’s how I made pesto today. I didn’t have pine nuts or parmesan so used almonds and gouda instead. Thanks for the tip for freezing pesto.

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