Herb Fest is in Full Swing
The connection between great food and quality local herbs is no secret to you or our partners, which is why we work so hard to have the best Organic bunched herb program in the nation!
This amazing program could not be accomplished without our partners in crime, Generation Farms, who started as a small hydroponics operation and have supplied us with amazing fresh herbs for the last 19 years, when we just a single store in Austin. Since then we have obviously grown and so has Generation Farms, supplying us with herbs directly from the farm to each store on a daily basis.
They cater to each Central Market store individually as they each have their own unique customers and needs. They talk daily with the produce managers and their staff to assure that you can always find what you need and sometimes even new herbs that you didn’t know you needed. The herbs are always available in fresh bunches or in recyclable packaging that we affectionately call “clamshells”.
We carry fresh herbs like basil, mint, tarragon, thyme, sage, rosemary, savory, lemon grass, dill, chives, marjoram, oregano, and lavender. We want you to have just the right herbs available when you need them, so always ask your produce manager if you can’t locate something you need. We know herbs better than anyone else. Take a minute to see and smell our herbs as you walk through the store and you will see that pride and down-home Texas service and quality shine through.
Basil Pesto with Pasta (Serves 4)
1 package or 1 bunch fresh Basil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pecans (walnuts, pine nuts, or pistachios work great too!)
1-2 cloves garlic (use more if you love garlic!)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese (Parmesan Reggiano or Pecorino)
1-16 oz. package angel hair pasta
Rinse Basil, lightly shake off excess water and remove leaves from stems (handle carefully so leaves won’t bruise and turn black). In a blender or food processor combine Basil leaves, nuts, garlic and half the oil and puree. Add the remainder of the oil and continue blending until the mixture is a thin paste. Stir in the cheese and let the flavors meld together. At this time add additional oil or stock if you want a thinner mixture. Toss with cooked angel hair pasta and serve.
Other tips and tricks:
For a lower fat version, substitute chicken or vegetable stock for ½ of the oil. You can also roast or blanch the garlic first to mellow its flavor.
For a different variation of pesto, try using another type of oil or substitute Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Arugula, Marjoram, Mint, or Cilantro instead of Basil; you can also experiment with different combinations of oils and herbs! If you can’t use your Basil at once or are making a large batch of pesto and want to retain the nice green color, remove leaves from the stem and blanch in boiling water for 3-5 seconds. Squeeze out the excess water and follow the recipe above or refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Never store fresh unblanched Basil below 50 degrees or it will turn black. For best storage, keep the Basil stems in a glass of water on the kitchen counter, and mist the leaves periodically.
This pesto is also great in soups, on roasting meats, as a pizza topping, as an addition to your favorite oil and vinegar dressing, or put a tablespoon or two on top of fresh cooked vegetables, or simply as a spread on crusty bread.