Skip to main content

My Classic Basil Pesto

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 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 foccacia 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 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. It is the breakfast you want 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 eggs 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 for toast, a bread machine like mine  will make that easy as can be. Three

How to Turn Store-Bought Potato Salad from Blah to Amazing

Here's a potato salad time-saver for you just in time for summer cookouts.  When you need a quick potato salad, and 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. 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 the 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 Take Your Potato Salad from Blah to AH-Mazing! What should you do if you want that store-bought potato salad to have a little more flavor? You're going to a potluck picnic or you are having people over for an impromptu barbecue and you'd like your potato salad to be a little special. There is no need to fret.  A

Rum Punch for a Party

As the weather warms and you start to think about gathering friends and family for parties and celebrations you'll want to think about signature cocktails. This rum punch cocktail is an ideal cocktail for a large gathering because the flavors are irresistible. Don't you think a warm-weather cocktail should make imagine yourself sitting by the shore on a tropical beach with your toes in the sand? Fruity rum drinks are perfect and rum punch is one of those perfect cocktails.  Cool and fruity, rum punch will make a party! One sip and you'll be transported to the beach. Rum Punch Cocktail (This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you make a purchase using these links you help support this blog.) Rum Punch for a Party! Can you make a rum punch ahead of time?  This rum punch recipe is a make-ahead recipe I use whenever we are having a large group for a summer picnic or barbecue.  Use the recipe below as your baseline and double or tripl

Forgotten Pork Chops

Today dawned dark and dreary in my corner of New England.  I woke to a dusting of snow, gray skies, and an ongoing drizzle forecast for the remainder of the day.  It's days like these when you turn to a one-pan, comfort food dinner like this recipe for Forgotten Pork Chops. This recipe is perfect for a dreary winter weeknight or any day you want an easy, hearty meal. One-Pan Pork Chops and Rice (This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  When you purchase through these links I receive a small compensation.)  Forgotten Pork Chops Truth be told, this recipe came about on a day when I wasn't really in the mood to spend time in the kitchen.  Much like today, it was dreary.  It was pouring rain and we had just sent the last of our guests home from my son's wedding. All I wanted to do was sit with my feet up. I needed an easy pork chop recipe!  This recipe is the result and has been a favorite ever since.  The recipe serves two to four, depending on the n

How to Trap and Get Rid of Fruit Flies

What can you do to kill fruit flies?  We've all been there.  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. There are many solutions offered for fruit fly traps to help you solve your problem.   A quick Amazon search found these products. You can spend your money on one of these solutions or I can save you a whole lot of your hard-earned cash today. My solution is the best.  Here's why: You have the ingredients in your kitchen now.  You need apple cider vinegar and a mild dish liquid . It's a healthy, family-friendly solution. It works quickly because fruit flies are attracted to apple cider vin

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 spice cookie, like gingersnaps 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 Gingersnap 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

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 Filled Cookie 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. 

Roasted Vegetables for the Oven or Grill

Roasted vegetables make a tasty side dish that is perfect for many occasions.  Whether you choose to roast vegetables in your oven or in a grill pan on your grill you'll love the ease and versatility. You'll especially love them when you are planning a menu for a large gathering.   Do you need a make-ahead side dish? Roasted vegetables can even be prepared in advance because they are delicious either hot or at room temperature.  Oven Roasted or Grilled Vegetables This roasted vegetables recipe is my go-to combination of vegetables but seasonal additions are tasty, too.  I think you will enjoy how nicely the flavors meld together during the cooking process.  

Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Make Ahead Freezer Dinner

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house.  It's also a favorite restaurant menu choice. I like to keep Chicken Parmesan prepared in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home.  That way, we'll have a delicious dinner all ready to go into the oven and save money to boot.  What's not to like about that? Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Busy Families This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small compensation when you shop using these links Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner This Chicken Parmesan recipe is made with everyday ingredients in the spirit of semi-homemade. You may already have the ingredients you need in your pantry.   Chicken Parmesan Ingredients That makes this an easy recipe for any mom or dad to prepare in advance for those busy weeknight dinners. Make a double batch and you'll have a baked Chicken Parmesan dinner for tonight and anoth

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

These mini lemon meringue pies are perfect any time of year, but when spring has sprung it seems that lemon-flavored desserts are a must.  That's precisely what motivated me to buy a large bag of beautiful, plump lemons.  Individual Lemon Meringue Tarts Lemon Meringue Tart The crust is crispy and flaky.  The filling is tart, yet sweet, and the meringue...oh, the meringue is light, fluffy, and heavenly.  If you are a lemon lover you'll love these mini lemon pies. They are just the right size for you to satisfy your lemon craving with portion control.