April 17, 2012

Basil Pesto


How To Make Pesto

One of the easiest things to make, Pesto can add tons of flavor to many dishes. It’s also great to have on hand if you need a quick dinner (toss pasta with some pesto) or fancy appetizer (mix pesto with softened cream cheese and spread on crackers). I like to make up a batch and freeze them in small portions so I can use it when I need it. With so few ingredients, buy the best you can.

Basic Basil Pesto

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 20 min

Pesto Ingredients



1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted3 cups Fresh Basil leaves (washed and dried)

3/4 – 1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

2-3 garlic cloves (depending on size)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Toast pine nuts in a dry pan. On medium heat, place pine nuts in heated skillet and set over heat. Shake continuously, about 2-3 min, to give the pine nuts a toasty flavor. Remove pan from heat and allow pine nuts to cool.

In food processor fitted with flat blade (can also be done in a blender) add garlic and pulse 3-4 times. Add pine nuts and pulse 8-10 times. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper. With the food processor running, slowly add the oil through the feed tube until the basil is pureed. If you are using a blender, add the oil through the opening in the lid. This takes about 3-4 minutes.

Add the parmesan cheese and pulse 8-10 times to fully incorporate into the pesto. Taste and add more salt/pepper to suit your needs.

Use pesto right away or store in sealed container. I pour mine into flexible ice cube trays I bought at IKEA years ago. I fill up the cavities then use a rubber spatula to clean up the excess. Wrap the entire tray in plastic wrap making sure the top is covered without any air pockets. Air is the enemy of Pesto. Sometimes I will store it in a small container which I have lined with plastic wrap and then fold over to seal out the air. This also helps from not turning my plastic green.



Honestly, it’s that simple! You’ll never want to eat the jarred stuff again.

How will you use your fresh Pesto?


{ 1 comment }

2girlsonabench April 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm

We have been freezing pesto in ice trays for years whether we make it ourselves or buy it already made. Here’s what we do with it:

Toss it with pasta, duh, that’s obvious and delicious!
Mix it with italian dressing and use for a cold pasta salad
Stir it into a bechamel sauce (this is naughty we don’t do this anymore…) and serve over raviolis

Yum we love pesto!

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