Summer heralds garlic harvest. All of those bulbs curing, releasing their heady aroma. But if you grow a lot of garlic, just how do you use it all before some of it begins to sprout during winter? Sure, you can add minced garlic to sauces and other roasted vegetables, but that only uses about 1/2 of a bulb of garlic at a maximum. What about the rest of your garlic harvest?
Folks, here is something new to try, roasted garlic pesto! Now while traditional pesto is an uncooked sauce made with the usual suspects of olive oil, parmesan cheese, basil, and pine nuts according to The new Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst, it is time to think outside of tradition. Why not make garlic the star? Granted, pesto made with raw garlic would have a strong bite, but that bite is tempered by the roasting process.
Roasted Garlic Pesto
- 2 lbs. peeled garlic*
- 3/4 C. tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 C. olive oil + 1/4 olive oil
- 1/3 pine nuts, roasted
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
* Two pounds of garlic is approximately 26 bulbs, but that may vary based upon the size of each bulb.
Place peeled garlic in a pan, cover with 1/3 C. olive oil. Cover pan with foil and roast in a 400F oven for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, place quartered tomatoes in another pan. Roast in a 400F oven for 40 minutes.
Place pine nuts in a pan and roast for 4 minutes in a 400F oven.
Drain the tomatoes, reserving the liquid.
After the garlic and tomatoes have cooled, place in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and 1/4 C. olive oil. Blend until smooth. Add pine nuts and blend again. If the mixture is a little too thick, add some of the reserved liquid from the tomatoes.
This is a smooth spread that is excellent on crostini or a dollop added to freshly cooked pasta. This also can be added to soups or stew to help provide a depth of flavor.
Since this recipe makes quite a bit, consider freezing it. My personal preference is to freeze it in cubes (I use a silicon two-bite brownie pan). Once the cubes are frozen, plastic in a zip lock bag and store in the freezer. Now you have a great, homemade pesto with the flavors of summer ready to be incorporated into your winter meals.