Last night it rained hard. It didn’t stop me from venturing out to the garden to pick some basil. It was a robust rain, but warm and gentle, and it felt good. I fell into a meditative rhythm as I moved in the dark from one plant to the next. All of a sudden, I began to hear music. At first I thought it was coming from an open window, but the sound was behind me, in the forest of trees bordering our backyard. I heard a symphony — not created by humans, but by the rain striking against all the leaves. It was magnificent! Everything else ceased to exist for several minutes as I crouched beside my basil and just listened.
The raindrop orchestra accompanied me as I finished harvesting the basil and moseyed back inside to make pesto. Because my musical experience in the rain left me in a glorious, magnanimous mood, and because the pesto recipe I use is simply too delicious to keep to myself, I am sharing it with you. As I recall, I found the recipe years ago in the Silver Palate Cookbook.
2 cups fresh basil leaves
4 medium-size cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1 cup best quality olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1. Process basil, garlic, and nuts in a food processor fitted with a steel blade or in two batches in a blender — until finely chopped.
2. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil in a thin, steady stream
3. Add the cheeses, a pinch of salt, and a liberal grinding of pepper. Process briefly to combine.
4. Pour into a bowl and cover until ready to use.
I also freeze containers of pesto, so we can enjoy it well into winter.
Where to find basil
I realize not everyone has a garden filled with basil plants in the backyard, so I’ll also share a map of all the farmers markets in Maine. Now is the perfect time to buy basil and lots of other fresh produce. As I mentioned in my post about the new MyPlate logo, you want to buy local because it’s good for you and good for the farmers.
Enjoy your pesto!