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Basil from Diane’s garden

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.

Basil Pesto
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. Check out the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets’ website to find one near you. Remember, you want to buy local because it’s good for you and good for the farmers.

Enjoy your pesto!