I grow a lot of basil indoors during the winter months. I have learned that around 14 smallish pots is the ideal number to have enough fresh basil on hand for my near daily culinary use as well as the occasional fabulous hostess gift. Once in a while though, events conspire and a couple of days go by with no foraging and the basil gets a bit overgrown.
So one of the side effects of growing so much basil is the need to make a small batch of pesto about once a month. A lot of pesto recipes are based on a large quantity, summer harvest. Here is the scaled down version I make with my winter basil:
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (I prefer Genovese Sweet Basil)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
sprinkle of salt
1/2 cups shredded Parmesan, Pecorino or blend
Blend all except the cheese in food processor until smooth, adding in the olive oil a little at a time. Add the cheese and pulse again until preferred consistency.
Pesto is great because even in small batches you can stretch out its bright, summery taste. You can freeze 1/2 TBS dollops in an ice cube tray for a quick, pre-measured burst of flavor for any soup, add to softened butter for wonderful bread spreads, blended with hummus for dip, a spread to spice up a grilled cheese, tossed with pasta – the list is endless.