Friday, July 13, 2012

My Classic Basil Pesto

Last week I decided it was time to give my basil plants a haircut.  I must say it has been a good year for herb growing.  All of my basil plants are doing very well and I couldn't be happier.  I recently used up the last of my frozen basil from last year's harvest so I have been waiting patiently for the time when I could make my first batch of the season.

Pesto has become a staple in my freezer.  Once you get used to having it on hand you never want to be without.  It works for appetizers, main dishes and is a flavorful condiment to perk up an otherwise ordinary sandwich.  Freezing my basil in individual cubes makes it very easy to keep them on hand.

Make Basil Pesto Cubes

Some things to remember when making your pesto:
  • Quantities are approximate. Use this recipe as a guide. A little more or less of anything just makes the resulting pesto more yours. No two batches of my pesto are ever the same.
  • While pesto is traditionally made with basil you can experiment with other herbs and leafy green vegetables as well.  For example, my friend, Lydia of The Perfect Pantry fame, recently made kale pesto.
  • You don't have pine nuts? Substitute walnuts or almonds.
  • You can substitute Pecorino Romano cheese in place of or along with Parmesan cheese. Use what you have.

Pesto Ingredients
My Classic Basil Pesto

  • 5 1/2 ounces of fresh basil, about 6 cups packed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Pick the leaves off your basil, wash and spin dry. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Watch them carefully because you want them to be lightly browned, not burned. Remove them from the heat when you start to smell their nutty aroma.

Place the basil, pine nuts, garlic and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of your food processor or blender. Process until it forms a paste. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the paste while the machine is running. Stop the machine, add the cheese and process to blend together. Taste and add salt and fresh ground black pepper as needed.

The Blender Makes This Easy

To freeze your pesto, fill the individual sections of an ice cube tray with pesto. Place in your freezer until frozen. Remove the cubes from the tray and package in zip closure freezer bags for longer term storage.
Pesto and Focaccia Bread
We enjoyed our pesto with some homemade focaccia bread.  Oh, baby, was that ever tasty!  You can get the printable recipe for Classic Basil Pesto by clicking the link.




  1. Replies
    1. Pesto is a "must have" in my freezer. I love, love, love it!

  2. Can never have too many pesto "cubes" in the freezer!!!!!


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