Skip to main content

My Classic Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto is a tasty condiment that can easily turn a meal from good to great.  Today I'm sharing how I make homemade basil pesto for my freezer.

I'm happy to say it is time to give my basil plants a haircut.  This has been a very good year for herb growing.  All of my basil plants are doing very well and I couldn't be more delighted.  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 pesto this season.

How to Make Classic Basil at Home

Fresh Basil Pesto
My Classic Basil Pesto

Pesto has become a staple in my freezer.  Once you get used to having it on hand you never want to be without it.  It works for appetizers and 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.
Fresh Basil Pesto

Pesto Frozen in Cubes
Make Basil Pesto Cubes

Pesto is a versatile condiment to keep on hand.  It is a delicious way to jazz up a simple pasta dish.  I love to add it to bread crumbs to make a special beef tenderloin dinner.  We love, love, love pesto as a spread for freshly baked focaccia bread.  I use pesto so often that I make sure to stock my freezer with my summer bounty of homemade pesto for year-round use.

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, try kale like this recipe from The Perfect Pantry.
  • When 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
Pesto Ingredients

My Classic Basil Pesto

Printer Friendly Recipe
  • 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


Directions
Pick the leaves off your basil, wash them, 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.

Fresh Basil
Fresh Basil

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.

Make Pesto in a Blender
The Blender Makes Pesto Easy

Tip:  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.

How easy is that!

We enjoyed our pesto with some homemade focaccia bread.  Oh, baby, was that ever tasty! 

You'll also love your homemade pesto in this Shrimp Pesto Alfredo recipe.

Shrimp Pesto Alfredo with Cheese Ravioli
Shrimp Pesto Alfredo with Grilled Shrimp

Your Essential Kitchen Tools
(These are affiliate links.  I earn compensation that helps support this blog when you purchase using these links.) 
Ninja Blender
Ice cube trays
Half-cup ramekins for dips and condiments
Dip spreaders


Enjoy!

Comments

  1. My husband has been asking for pesto lately. When we lived in Idaho, I would purchase it from a sweet Italian lady who made her own. Now I am in Texas, and don't know anyone who makes fresh pesto, so I need to start making my own. Thanks for the recipe!

    Love,
    Susan and Bentley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know exactly what you mean, Susan. There is nothing like fresh. I'm so happy my basil is doing so well this year. It looks like I'll have plenty to freeze. The other thing I like about making my own is that I can customize it to our tastes. I hope you'll make some, too.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Talk to me. I welcome your comments. (These comments are strictly moderated. Spammers take note.)

More Popular Posts

How to Make a Perfect Bacon and Eggs Breakfast

In my opinion, the best breakfast consists of two perfectly fried eggs, crispy bacon, and toast made with hearty bread. This bacon and eggs recipe delivers. Bacon and eggs or eggs and bacon? No matter, it is definitely the breakfast you want on those lazy mornings when you have time to relax around the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee or two. The Best Bacon and Eggs Breakfast (This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you make a purchase using these links you help support this blog.) How to Cook Bacon and Eggs My technique was learned from my mom, by watching her make our family's breakfast over and over again, year after year.  This is a basted egg recipe which means the eggs are cooked in bacon grease. Cooking eggs in bacon fat is easy and takes just a little practice to perfect. All you really need for a great bacon and eggs breakfast is a good nonstick skillet and a good toaster . If you want to make your own bread fo

The Best Asian Dipping Sauce You'll Ever Taste

If you're looking for a versatile, easy-to-make Asian dipping sauce perfect for sushi and dumplings, then you've come to the right place. This recipe for the best Asian dipping sauce is perfect for any time you want a  kick of delicious Asian flavor. An Asian Dipping Sauce for Sushi and Dumplings Try this if you are looking for a dipping sauce that is a little more flavorful than you typically get with your takeout order. You'll love it with dumplings, too!

How to Doctor Up Store-Bought Potato Salad

Here's a potato salad time-saver for you just in time for summer cookouts. You'll love how you can transform grocery store potato salad so easily no matter whether you are hosting a BBQ or bringing a side dish for a summer barbecue. There's no judgment here. We don't always have the time to make a potato salad from scratch. Sometimes it is just easier to stop by your local grocery store to pick up a container of store-made potato salad. It's good. It's predictable.  It will do.  All it needs is a little doctoring. How to Make Store-Bought Potato Salad Better When you need a quick potato salad, and have no time to make one from scratch, that ordinary store-bought potato salad you have in your refrigerator can go from blah to amazing in just a few minutes with just a few ingredients. Yes, you can improve store-bought potato salad. How to Doctor Up Potato Salad to have a little more flavor? You're going to a potluck picnic or you are having

Crunchy, Spicy Gingersnap Cookies

Crunchy, spicy, and yummy are all words used to describe a good gingersnap cookie.   While my hands-down, favorite cookie is a gooey chocolate chip cookie I occasionally crave a spicy ginger snaps cookie or  this molasses cookie .  This old-fashioned gingersnap cookie is a winner.  It's easy to make and will be a favorite in your recipe rotation. Traditional Ginger Snaps Cookie Recipe ( This post contains affiliate links.  I will be compensated when you make a purchase with these links.) Gingersnaps Cookies In the U.S., gingersnaps are usually drop cookies with lots of cracks on the surface.  That's exactly how I like them.  Those found in other countries may be thinner and sliced.  The Lebkuchen, a traditional German cookie, and the pepparkakor, from Sweden, are often cut into festive shapes.  My gingersnaps are round. Reasons You'll Love These Gingersnap Cookies These gingersnaps are tasty cookies at any time of the year.   Their spiciness is perfect as a holid

Five Keys to Growing A Healthy Ficus Tree

Have you ever wondered how a single Ficus benjamina tree could become a beloved part of your home for decades, thriving and growing alongside your family?  If you haven’t yet, you might consider the addition of this living, air-purifying companion in your home that not only beautifies your space but also stands the test of time.  You may know this tree as either a Ficus benjamina or a weeping fig.   I have loved growing a ficus tree in my home for 36 years. It’s remarkable that I've had this tree for so long.   How to Grow A Ficus Tree Inside for Decades When thinking about how I managed to keep this indoor ficus tree happy, healthy, and growing strong all these years it boiled down to five key Ficus benjamina plant care tips. Follow these tips and you can have a happy, healthy ficus tree in your home for many years, too.

Grandma's Soft and Chewy Date-Filled Cookies

One of the things I can count on as the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons arrive each year is a feeling of nostalgia. The traditional foods we serve at our family's holiday tables can sure bring out all the feels. Now that it is officially cookie season, we should kick it off with an old-fashioned homemade date-filled cookie recipe. This is a soft, tender cookie with dates that is a special, nostalgic, family recipe.   An Old-Fashioned Date Cookies Recipe This old-fashioned, date-filled cookie was my dad's favorite cookie from his childhood. My dad was born in 1932 so this recipe has been around for quite a while. 

Traditional New England Whoopie Pies

Are you looking for the best whoopie pie recipe?  Whoopie pies are a quintessential New England dessert and a memorable treat from my childhood.   My mom would make them for us every once in a while.  Oh, what a treat to come home from school to a platter of chocolate whoopie pies!  Yum! Today I'm sharing my recipe for the best-ever whoopie pies. The Best Whoopie Pies Recipe without Marshmallow Fluff Whoopie Pies Whoopie pies are soft round cookie-like cakes with a smooth cream filling sandwiched in the center. Debate rages about the whoopie pie's origin.  Some say these goodies originated in New England, others say they originated with the Amish.   There is also debate about what ingredients should be in the filling.  Many recipes include fillings made with Marshmallow Fluff or buttercream but neither is  traditional, in my opinion.  The whoopie pie of my childhood is a traditional Maine whoopie pie recipe, made with a cooked flour and milk mixture added to suga

Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Make Ahead Freezer Dinner

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house because it is a delicious dish that can satisfy your cravings for Italian food. It's also easy to make at home with simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry.  But what if you don't have time to cook on a busy weeknight? Don't worry, you can make Chicken Parmesan ahead of time and freeze it for later. I like to prepare Chicken Parmesan to have on hand in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home.  How to Make Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Busy Nights This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small compensation when you shop using these links Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Pa

Can You Make Better Bacon in Water?

What is the best way to cook crisp, tender bacon? Today, let's investigate a new method for cooking bacon on the stove that I'm seeing suggested as a technique that will change your life.  It's frying your bacon in a pan with a small amount of water.  Is cooking bacon with a bit of water in the pan a better way to make bacon? How to Cook Bacon in Water This is a simple, relatively fast way to make perfectly cooked bacon every time. Whether you are looking to impress your guests with a decadent breakfast or just want to enjoy a delicious bacon treat, this technique is the perfect solution.

How to Trap and Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be a huge annoyance at certain times of the year. What can you do to kill fruit flies? We've all been there wondering how to get rid of fruit flies.  Fruit flies in the kitchen.  Fruit flies in the bathroom.  Fruit flies buzzing around everywhere in your home.   It's a frustrating problem that happens to everyone at one time or another.  If you are a fresh fruit and produce lover you certainly know what I mean. How to Kill Fruit Flies with Two Ingredients Those pesky little buggers can often be brought into your home on the vegetables and fruit you buy. You don't have to tolerate the annoyance.  This homemade fruit fly trap is one I have been using for many years and it works every time.