How To Make Pesto.

02 August 2012

We plant at least one basil each year, usually two.  They do really well in our potted herb garden and they are relatively low maintenance.  There is nothing like fresh basil for adding flavor to things like caprese salad, pizzas made on the grill, pasta, marinades, and the Davester’s favorite summer dish, orzo pasta salad

This time of year, it tends to go a little nuts with the warm temps so we’re up to our eyeballs.  What to do with all of that extra basil?  We make a batch of pesto, trim back the basil plant and let it go nuts again.  It only takes a few days to replenish itself.  You can repeat this as much as you’d like and put up the pesto in the freezer for winter. 

I feel like a pioneer.  {Not really.}

This recipe is really forgiving as far as amounts go, you will really do it to suit your own tastes.  If you like it with more garlic or nuttier, then just add more.

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You will need:

  • 2 - 3 cups of packed basil leaves {maybe like 6 – 7 cups unpacked?}
  • olive oil
  • pine nuts, a handful or two {you can also substitute walnuts or pistachios}
  • garlic, pressed or lightly chopped {2 – 3 cloves should do it}
  • sea salt + freshly ground pepper
  • parmesan, pecorino, grana Padano, or Romano cheese {if serving fresh + not freezing}

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Pick your basil leaves. In a food processor, combine garlic {I used two cloves} and a handful of pine nuts, pulse until coarsely chopped. Add basil leaves and about half a cup of olive oil to start. Pulse and check consistency. You will likely need another 1/4 to 3/4 cup of olive oil depending on how many basil leaves you have.  Add it slowly and when you’ve reached the desired consistency, add sea salt and fresh ground pepper and pulse a couple times just to combine.

I freeze mine in ice cube trays.  When frozen, pop out and store in freezer bags.  You can keep them frozen for 3-6 months.  They are the perfect size to throw in a pot of sauce to add some oomph, or in a pesto cream sauce like the one in the tortellini with red grapes, or in a single serving of just cooked pasta. 

Don’t forget to put aside a little and have a plate of pasta to enjoy it fresh.  Top with grated cheese & dig in.

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Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

You make it sound so easy! ;)

Unknown said...

I love basil!!
I tried seeding basil seeds but I failed...
Maybe I just buy basil plants and plant them.

I love your idea of putting pesto into ice cube trays. Good idea!!

This Confetti Life said...

Basil is my favorite! I buy tons of it at the store, which seems so silly knowing how easy it is to grow.

AfGolden said...

We use basil ALL the time! LG is obsessed with the stuff. He grows it too but I had never thought of freezing it!! Yay! I will have to try this! :) thanks!

Stefanie Blakely said...

Mmmmm, pesto...

Another use for all of the extra basil-- basil vinaigrette! We've made it all summer. It's SO yummy.

2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of chopped basil
1/2 tsp salt, pepper
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Blend in a food processor & enjoy on a delicious summer salad!

Holly Lefevre said...

I LOVE pesto...and on;t make it nearly enough...thanks for the recipe and reminder!

Jessica Sliman said...

I love pesto and it's SO easy to make. Unfortunately, our basil didn't make it this summer in the Texas we have to buy ours from the grocery store :(

Love your pictures. They're beautiful!

Unknown said...

you really make me want a huge plate of pasta right now, at almost twelve thirty in the morning! Plus I had garlic butter parmesan spaghetti with supper so i don't see how I could want more pasta! But I do! I will plant basil this summer just so I can make this recipe!! Thank you so much for sharing this, I really enjoy your blog. :)

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