Feta pesto

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Mint Killer has not lived up to her name this year. She’s been cultivating mint like nobody’s business, she’s cultivated purple AND green basil, and even the Easter Egg Peppers that Barbara from Acoustic Farms gave us when we stopped by the farm for sausage gravy and biscuits.

My Easter Egg Pepper seedlings? Totally blown. Bitten off by varmints. Chewed off to stumps—or, to the bare dirt.

Because The Mint Killer had such major, herby success, and because she and I went in together on a deep freezer that we have tried to fill as if we will have no access to any stores for the next six to eight months, we met at her house on Labor Day to get it done.

Get what done? Well, filling said freezer with summer-ready goodies, of course. The Mint Killer and I might claim the East Coast as home, but we spent a day getting in touch with our inner Prairie Girls.

The Mint Killer sent me out to harvest basil—we planned to freeze it, and to make pesto, and so I had stopped by the Co-op on the way over to purchase a prodigious amount of pine nuts.

I cut. And cut. And cut. And it was as if I hadn’t even begun cutting at all. I don’t know what’s in the soil over at The Mint Killer’s house, but whatever it is, basil likes it.

Armload of basilI returned to the front door with a toddler-sized bundle of basil. And yet, when The Mint Killer and I went back outside, she scoffed at my cutting ability. “You didn’t cut anything!” she said.

And yet, let me say again, I had cut way more than an armful. This is what happens when you give out a nickname that later becomes totally undeserved.

Inside, I washed and washed and washed the leaves, then spun them dry. Into the food processor went the pine nuts, the garlic and some salt.

“Do you have any Parmeggiano?” I asked The Mint Killer. “I didn’t even think about getting any at the Co-op.”

“No,” she said. “But I have feta.”

Feta. I nodded and thought. Thought and nodded. “Let’s throw it in. It can’t hurt.”

So we did. And thus was born Feta Pesto, brought to you by The Mint Killer and The Inadvertent Gardener. It’s a little bit salty, ever so basil-y, and absolutely amazing.

“Feta,” The Mint Killer said. “It’s not just for fish anymore.”

Feta pestoFeta Pesto
(Makes enough for about 1.5 pounds of pasta)

Four cloves garlic
1/4 c. pine nuts (Toasted, if you’d like)
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
Three c. packed washed basil leaves
3 oz. feta cheese
Approx. 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
Additional salt to taste

  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic, pine nuts and salt. Pulse until the ingredients are chopped finely, scraping the bowl if needed.
  2. Add the basil and pulse again, approximately 10-20 times, until the basil is combined with the other ingredients.
  3. Crumble the feta into the bowl and pulse five times to combine.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil into the feed tube until the mixture becomes a paste. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
  5. Serve immediately, store up to a week in the refrigerator, or freeze for up to six months.

This recipe is my contribution to this week’s edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is going to be hosted this week by Myriam from Once Upon a Tart. Please stop by Myriam’s blog for the full round-up, which will be posted late Sunday or Monday.

20 Responses to “Feta pesto”

  1. 1 Robin (Bumblebee) September 20, 2007 at 6:44 am

    I have a wonderful collection or random plants that have volunteered in unlikely places–flowers in compost piles, impatiens in sidewalk cracks, tomatoes in the yard. I keep thinking I should do a blog post on it, but haven’t gotten round to it.

    –Robin (Bumblebee)

  2. 2 Me September 20, 2007 at 6:53 am

    You do come up with the most scrumptious recipes…

  3. 3 Kalyn September 20, 2007 at 7:33 am

    What a cute picture of you! Of course I love the idea of pesto with feta! Heck, I love anything with feta, you know that! My own basil is out of control. I recently tried an experiment with freezing Thai basil, since I had such a huge amount of it. Now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it, since Thai basil is usually used when it’s raw!

  4. 4 the mint killer September 20, 2007 at 8:40 am

    there’s still more basil to cut. better come get it before the frost does!

  5. 5 inadvertentgardener September 20, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Robin, you definitely should post about that — I find it fascinating.

    Me, thank you! Glad you’re enjoying them.

    Kalyn, I know — I’m interested to hear what you come up with for the Thai basil, especially since you have so much of it. I wonder if you froze it covered in some other kind of oil besides olive? Hmm…

    Mint Killer, and that’s after I did another mega-harvest on Friday…you really have rocked the basil world!

  6. 6 Wayne September 20, 2007 at 11:11 am

    sounds good. this summer I we discovered a pesto made with parsley which has become a favorite.

    I just put some Alison krauss on for some lunch music.

  7. 7 inadvertentgardener September 20, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Good music choice, Wayne! I haven’t yet made parsley pesto, but I have heard it’s really good — I need to put that on the list. I kept waiting until I had tons of parsley, and I never achieved that goal…

  8. 8 Anh September 20, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    This is interesting. I haven’t tasted or used feta in pesto before. Now I can try since feta is one of my fav cheese.

  9. 9 Heather September 20, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    You can have my parsley. I can’t get rid of it. I swear that my one plant has produced pounds of parsley. I had to go out and check my basil after seeing that photo of you with arms full. I need to harvest a bunch this weekend myself. But I have a feeling that this won’t be my last harvest since we’re back up to 80 degrees here and it’s feeling less fall-like, though the sun, sadly, has definitely entered into the fall cycle leading to a very shady backyard.

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener September 20, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Anh, I definitely recommend it — enjoy!

    Heather, I’d totally take your parsley. Next year, I’m going to actually plant parsley in the garden instead of a pot, because I’m tired of wimpy, weasly parsley.

  11. 11 Christina September 20, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    The Mint Killer is MUST share her basil-growing secrets, because that is some sexy herbage. WOW!

    I love the mix-in of feta. Great idea!

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener September 20, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Christina, it’s crazy-sexy herbage, really! Great stuff. The Mint Killer is rocking the house of basil this year. I think she’s using the benign neglect method of growth.

  13. 13 wayne September 22, 2007 at 6:29 am

    I go light on the parsley. I blend together a tomato, a clove of a garlic, very little salt, a tbsp of olive oil, and some chopped parsley. I think the original recipe had one use half a tomato to two cups of parsley…. my proportions are way off.

    got to some Ani on Friday.

  14. 14 inadvertentgardener September 22, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Wayne, that recipe sounds really interesting…I’m going to have to check that out. I like the idea of kicking in tomato to the pesto — delicious! And I’m glad you got your Ani on…she’s awesome.

  15. 15 bright September 23, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    thanks, the inadvertent gardener! i had basil and i had feta, and we had this for dinner. and it is indeed tasty! we didn’t have pine nuts though, so i used a jalepeno just to see, and it was really good. i haven’t tried to make pesto before, thanks for inspiring me!

  16. 16 inadvertentgardener September 24, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Bright, I love the idea of throwing a jalapeno in there for zing — that’s brilliant!

  17. 17 NC Heather September 24, 2007 at 10:59 am

    For freezing pesto, I use a mini-muffin tin. Spray the tin with Pam, spoon a good tablespoon of pesto into each hole in the tin. COver with Saran Wrap and freeze. Once frozen solid, take the tin out of the freezer and use a knife to quickly remove the solid pestos from the tin. Then transfer the pestos to a airtight container and keep them in the freezer. Now when you need “just enough” pesto for some pasta or a salad, you can take just one or two of the frozen pestos out of the freezer and use just that amount.

    Yum – I love good pesto!

  18. 18 Peter September 24, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Being Greek, I’ve never tried the basil-feta combo…until now!

  19. 19 inadvertentgardener September 25, 2007 at 8:22 am

    NC Heather, I have done that with ice cube trays, but the mini-muffin tray idea is pretty brilliant, too!

    Peter, it’s a good combo, huh?

  20. 20 ateliercoloniale November 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I decided to make pesto today, only to realize I had no parmesan/pecorino or reggiano cheese, so decided to try with feta, as you recommended. Its was quite yummy!

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