These days my basil is growing faster than I can pick it (literally, the photo above is a tower of harvested basil leaves NOT a whole plant!) I love making pesto because it’s easy to whip up and goes great with salads, pasta and as a topping for grilled meat. Also, it makes a great gift because, who doesn’t a want a sweet jar of homemade pesto?
This recipe can be altered for taste depending on how much garlic or cheese you prefer.
What you will need…
2-3 Cups Fresh Packed Basil (this is not a precise measurement…packed means packing them down into the measuring cup with your hands).
1/4 Cup Fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (can be found at most markets but if not, parmesan works just as well)
1/4 Cup Pinenuts (pinon nuts)
3 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, finely minced (you can also use 1 tsp prepared minced garlic)
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pick all the basil leaves off of the stems and discard any brown or molding leaves, flowers or any leaf that looks like it is in bad shape. Wash the good ones under cool water. Set aside.
In your food processor, chop the pinenuts, garlic and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Start adding in the basil,in small batches,until all the ingredients are blended to a smooth paste.
If storing in the fridge, I add a little olive oil on the top to keep it well “oiled”. Just make sure to stir before each use.
*Fresh pesto can be refrigerated for up to about a week but can be frozen up to 6 months. Make sure to keep the cheese out if freezing. It can be added when you thaw out to use the pesto. The easiest and smartest way to freeze pesto is to freeze in ice cube trays, then put the frozen cubes into a freezer bag. This way you have the choice of a single serving or enough for a larger meal.
One of my favorite things to do with pesto is to chop up fresh cherry or grape tomatoes and then add the pesto with a splash of lemon and crumbled feta cheese as a “dressing” for Turkey burgers. Delicious!