Ratto Farms follows and recommends the guidelines set forth by the Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) regarding commercial and home users washing all produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. For more information, visit the FDA’s website: Raw Produce: Selecting and Serving it Safely.

Basil | Kale | Herbs | Red Swiss Chard | Leeks | Collards


Ratto Family Pesto Recipe

1 cup fresh basil leaves-packed
1-2 cloves of garlic
3 T. pine nuts (other nuts may be substituted)
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt

Place washed and dried basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt and cheese in a blender or food processor. Add olive oil and pulse until mixture forms a thick puree. Pour over cooked hot pasta and serve.

Serves 2-3

Basil Butter

4 oz. unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Put all ingredients in food processor to blend. Refrigerate or freeze in small portions.

Potato Basil Puree

2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 lbs. large Yukon Gold or white boiling potatoes
1 cup half-and-half
¾ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut in quarters. Add the potatoes to a pot of boiling water and return to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20-25 minutes, until very tender. Drain well. In small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half and cheese until the cheese melts. Place the basil in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree. Add the cream mixture to basil and process until smooth. With a handheld mixer with the beater attachment, beat the hot potatoes. Slowly add the hot basil cream, salt and pepper and beat until smooth. Serve hot.

Serves 4-5.

Pesto Cheese Ball

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried (about 2 oz. Ratto Farms basil)
2 cloves garlic
½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 T. olive oil
8 oz. softened low fat cream cheese
½ cup softened unsalted butter
Salt to taste
2/3 c. finely chopped walnuts or pine nuts

Place basil leaves in food processor and whirl until loosely chopped. Add garlic cloves, parmesan cheese and olive oil and continue to pulse and scrape sides of bowl until finely chopped. Add softened cheese and butter. Pulse until completely blended. Salt to taste. Scoop out basil/cheese mixture from bowl and place on plastic wrap. Wrap sides of plastic wrap around cheese to form a ball. Chill until firm. Unwrap ball and roll in nuts to coat outside. Serve at room temperature.

Caprese Skewer Bites

Small cherry or grape tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves (washed and dried)
Small mozzarella balls (Bocconcini)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Tooth picks

Onto one toothpick, slide a tomato, folded basil leaf and mozzarella ball. Arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Pesto Pizza

3/4 c. basil pesto (see recipe on Ratto Basil bag or above)
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 T. mayonnaise
Toasted slices of sourdough baguette

Mix pesto, cheese and mayonnaise in small bowl. Lightly toast baguette slices on cookie sheet in oven. Let cool. Spread basil mixture onto each slice and broil until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Basil and White Bean Hummus

1 14 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh basil, washed and dried and tightly packed (about 2 oz. of Ratto Farms basil)
1 small lemon, juice of
1-2 fresh garlic cloves
3 T. olive oil
2 T. tahini
2 T. pine nuts
Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until creamy, scraping sides occasionally. Taste and adjust flavors as desired.

Jean’s Bruschetta Topping

8 tomatoes – roma or combination of roma, yellow and orange tomatoes (cut tomatoes in half and gently squeeze out seeds)
15 fresh basil leaves (lemon basil gives this a refreshing twist!)
2-3 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in food processor until tomatoes are chopped. Spoon on top of toasted baguette slices.

Bruschetta al Pomodoro

10 large ripe plum tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic
1 handful washed and dried fresh basil leaves
1 handful washed and dried fresh tarragon or thyme
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
slices of crusty bread

Peel and chop the tomatoes. Salt them and let them drain in a colander for 45 min. Chop the garlic, basil and herbs and mix with the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add to drained tomatoes. Toast the bread under the broiler or in the toaster. When ready to serve, spread the tomato mixture onto the toast and serve.

Serves 6.

And for the really adventurous…. Adapted from Sunset Magazine, July 1983…

Pesto Torta

½ pound reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
½ pound unsalted butter, room temperature

Pesto Filling (see below)

Thinly sliced sourdough baguette

Also needed:

Two 18” squares of cheesecloth

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until very smooth. Moisten cheesecloth squares with water, wring dry, and lay out flat, one on top of the other. Smoothly line a small straight-sided saucepan (or other “mold”) with the cheesecloth; drape excess over rim of pan. Place a sprig of fresh basil upside down in the bottom of the pan (mold) if you plan to serve it in 1 to 2 days; otherwise, use to decorate top when served. With a spatula or knife spread an even layer of 1/3 of the cheese mixture into the pan, covering the basil sprig. Cover with ½ the pesto filling, extending it evenly to sides of mold. Repeat layers until mold is filled, finishing with cheese.

Fold ends of cheesecloth over torta and press down lightly with your hands to compact. Chill until torta feels firm when pressed, about 1 hour. Then invert onto a serving dish and gently pull off cheesecloth (if allowed to stand, the cloth will act as a wick and cause filling color to bleed onto cheese). Serve, or wrap airtight with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 5 days. Present torta with sliced baguette.

Pesto Filling

In a blender or food processor whirl to a paste 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (washed and dried), 2-3 cloves of garlic, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons pine nuts and salt to taste.

Appetizer serves 20


Kale Salad

1 large bunch kale (any variety)
Juice from 2 lemons (small)
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup dried currants
½ cup Parmesan cheese
olive oil

Remove ribs from kale and roll up – cut into ¼ inch ribbons. Toast pine nuts. Add lemon juice, pine nuts, currants and parmesan cheese. Toss with olive oil. Best if this sits for at least an hour before serving to soften the kale and marry the flavors. (Toast nuts by spreading a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and baking in a 350 degree oven. Watch closely! After 3 minutes give them a stir. They will be lightly browned and done in 5-10 minutes.)

Kale Parmesan Frittata

1 bunch lacinato kale (washed, stems removed and chopped)
2 tomatoes, diced (or substitute some red pepper)
7 eggs
1/3 cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese
1 sliced leek
2 T. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Add oil to fry pan and saute leeks over med. heat until light brown. Spread into the bottom of a 9 inch greased baking dish. Steam kale until just tender. Drain and squeeze out excess water. In a bowl, beat eggs thoroughly. In baking dish (on top of leeks) layer the kale. Sprinkle tomatoes on top of kale. Sprinkle salt and pepper, then pour beaten eggs over the vegetables. Spread cheese on top. Bake 15-18 minutes or until eggs are firmly set. 5-6 servings.

Kale Casserole

20 oz. kale, stems removed and lightly chopped
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 hard cooked eggs, chopped

Steam kale until limp: drain and squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside. Melt butter, blend in flour, then milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to boil. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Continue stirring until cheese is melted. Stir in hard cooked eggs and kale. Bake in microwavable casserole dish 10-11 min. on low power. Serve over toast. 4-6 servings.

Walnut Kale Pesto

1/2 cup Kale, cleaned and chopped
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Boil a medium sized pot of water with a pinch of salt. Prepare a bowl of cold ice water. Add kale to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Strain and immediately immerse kale into ice water to stop cooking and strain.

Using a food processor, chop garlic. Add walnuts, kale, basil salt and parmesan cheese. Slowly add olive oil while the machine is running. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days, but can be frozen for up to 2 months.


Rosemary Marinade

½ cup lemon juice
3 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. Honey
1 T. minced fresh rosemary

In a deep bowl or 2 gallon zip-lock plastic bag, mix together all ingredients.

Tarragon Marinade

2 T. melted butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
2 T. lemon juice

Mix together all ingredients. Great on roasted chicken.

Dill Weed

Pickled Vegetables

1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
1¼ lbs. carrots, cleaned, cut into thin strips
1 med. cauliflower, broken into flowerets
2 c. white distilled vinegar
2 c. water
¼ c. salt
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
4 tsp. pickling spice
4 heads fresh pickling dill

Prepare vegetables. Blanch separately cauliflower and green beans for 1 minute and carrots for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Heat mixture of vinegar, water and salt. Pack vegetables lengthwise into jars, filling each jar about 1/3 full of each vegetable. Divide the garlic, pickling spice and fresh dill evenly into the 4 canning jars. Fill each jar with the hot vinegar mixture. Place lids on and seal. Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack or towel.

Makes 4 pints

Red Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Quiche

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
2 T. butter, plus additional for topping quiche
1 large leek, or 2 small, white part only, washed and thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard leaves, washed, dried and roughly chopped
2 cups milk or half-and-half
4 eggs
½ tsp. salt
Pinch black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
4 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
4 oz. goat cheese

Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the leeks until well-softened, about 10 minutes. Do not brown. Set aside in small bowl. Add chard to pan, cover, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Set chard aside to cool then squeeze out excess moisture. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk gently.

Take the pie plate and scatter the shredded cheese over the bottom. Scatter the sautéed leeks and chard evenly over the cheese. Break the goat cheese into blobs, and scatter then over the top. Give the custard another stir to re-mix and gently pour into pie plate, until filled. Shave a few slices of butter and scatter over the top of the quiche to prevent a skin from forming.

Carefully place in oven. Bake about one hour, until only the center inch or so wiggles. Remove from oven and let set 10-15 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8


Potato Leek Soup

2 T. butter
5 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
4 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, mashed
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
2 T. chives or parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the potatoes, onions, leeks, garlic and 1 cup of the broth. Simmer covered over very low heat until the vegetables are very soft. Stir frequently. Add the remaining broth. Simmer covered for 10 more minutes. Add the milk and half-and-half. Bring to the boiling point but do not boil. Season with salt and pepper. Puree the soup in a blender, adding a pinch of the parsley or chive with each batch. Serve hot or cold. 6 servings


Italian Collards

3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
½ T. fresh marjoram
½ cup dry white wine
2 lbs. collard greens, stems and rib removed, loosely chopped
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram. Add wine. Add the collards. Simmer covered over very low heat for about 15 or 20 minutes or until tender. Stir frequently. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot. Serves 4