*I absolutely love basil! We grow our own every summer. In fact, it loves to grow in our yard so much that we didn’t have to plant seeds this year. Instead, it just popped up all over the yard in random planters. With this abundance of basil, I made pesto.
If you haven’t had pesto, you should try it. It has the perfect mixture of garlic, sweetness from the basil, tangy tartness from lemon, and nutty flavor from the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. It makes a great sauce over pasta, delicious marinade on chicken, and perfect savory filling in brioche bread. You should try it with this baked pesto chicken I made recently. It added a nice fresh summer taste to the dish.
This recipe uses pine nuts that are raw, but for a different taste lightly toast your pine nuts and garlic before blending. The garlic will sweeten and lose its sharp bite, and the pine nuts will gain a deeper flavor. Also be sure to use a good olive oil. You want one with a good flavor not the cheap clear bottled stuff sold most often. I really like Lucini for my less expensive go to olive oil. It’s not as painful to buy and the taste is so much better than the cheaper alternatives.
To store your pesto, (that is if you don’t use it right away.) place it in an airtight container in the fridge up to a week. For longer storage you can freeze it. It a great way to do that is using an ice cube tray. This will allow you to have smaller amounts that are perfect for single pasta amounts. They can stay in a container 3-6 months in the freezer. Simply pop a few cubes in a pan with cooked pasta and a tiny bit of pasta water. You then have a quick gourmet meal in minutes. Enjoy!
- 1 cup basil leaves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 ounce parmesan cheese
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor add the basil, pine nuts, and garlic. Pulse together 5-7 times allowing the basil to break down. Add in your cheese and lemon juice if using and turn on processor to a low blend. While it is blending, slowly pour in your olive oil through the top. Allow everything to mix together adding enough oil to create a wet, slightly chunky sauce. Taste and add any salt and pepper as desired.