By now, your basil plant is probably growing like a weed. Mine was…

…until I decided to make delicious pesto.

I have made pesto a ton of times, but it never turned out as good as my parents use to make. It turned out I never seemed to put the simple ingredients in the food processor at the right time until I saw this video.

I found a good recipe from Ina Garten, so I’ll modify it a bit. As far as ingredients go, I use whats listed below, but I don’t measure anything.

Pesto: The Ingredients (adapted-ish from Ina Garten)

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (I use raw)
  • 3 tablespoons garlic
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • just enough  good olive oil that the pesto is smooth
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Squeeze of lemon to taste

1. Drop the garlic in the food processor and pulse til it’s tiny.

2. Add the nuts, pulse till they are tiny.

3. Add the basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and pulse just so they are mixed up a bit.

4. Stream in some olive oil. Just enough so that it’s at the consistency you want it… but not enough so that it’s gross and oily.

5. Add the parmesan and puree for one minute.

6. Taste it, and if you need more of something (lemon, salt, etc), add it! 

The next step is to PUT THE PESTO AWAY!! Ina Garten was right when she mentioned in her recipe that air is the enemy of pesto. Air turns it brown and makes the flavor a little funky. To solve this, I make a huge batch for whatever meal I’m making and freeze the rest.

That’s right… freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. (Thanks again for the tip, parents!) Basil is hard to find in the winter, so you’ll thank yourself.
Freeze these cubes over night, then pop each out, wrap it in saran wrap and put them in a baggie with the date on it. Take one or two out for whatever it is that your’re cooking and let them defrost for an hour on the table (don’t microwave) and boom, fresh homemade pesto… again!!
This pesto can EASILY be made vegan if you just leave out the cheese. It’s pretty delicious that way too.

9 responses to “Pesto

  1. Looks yummy as does all your posts! Love the photos. I need to get on the Pesto bandwagon myself! It would taste good over some penne pasta! I heard Pine Nuts from China are bitter. Guess Trader Joe’s nuts are good quality! Do you use the cheese that is in the bag, or in the tub?

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