Store-bought pesto is a great option for dinner in a pinch, but the flavor pales in comparison to fresh homemade pesto. If you love pesto and have never made it fresh, you are about to have your mind blown. It’s super simple to make, and absolutely delicious. In the summer when basil is plentiful, it's great to make a double or triple batch and freeze the extra pesto in ice cube trays to use in the fall and winter months. Store the frozen pesto cubes in a freezer bag and you can defrost a few cubes at a time without having to defrost the entire batch. Be sure to dry the fresh basil completely after washing, otherwise it will not mix well with the olive oil.
You will need:
- A food processor or blender
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves washed and dried thoroughly
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts or combination of both
- salt and pepper to taste
- Freshly cooked pasta of your choosing (spaghetti, penne, or farfelle are recommended)
1. Make sure the basil leaves are well washed and well dried. I like to lay all the leaves out on tea towels and allow them to air dry for about an hour. If they are still wet or if you want to dry them faster, pat them dry with a napkin. A salad spinner alone will not dry them enough.
2. Once the basil is dry, add it to the food processer or blender with the olive oil and pulse about 20 times. Then add the garlic, parmesan, and nuts and blend until just combined. Do not overblend. Season liberally with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add pesto to freshly cooked pasta and enjoy!
Pesto is a fantastic sauce or topping for many things other than pasta such as roasted fingerling potatoes, burgers, pizza, and more!