Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I love basil and while basil is in season, I’m using it in so many dishes.

Here in Western North Carolina, Basil is near it’s end.  The night temperatures are getting cooler and when it drops below 40 degrees F, that will pretty much kill what’s left.

Basil Pesto

Here’s a tip if you want to keep some going through the winter months.  Find some nice tops of the basil stalks and cut off about 6 inches down.  Put them in water and they will root in a few weeks.  Plant those indoors in a pot of good potting soil and they will continue to grow!  I already have some in water waiting for them to root.  They will last throughout most of the winter, but they will not get as big as they do outdoors.  Part of the reason is they don’t get as much sun or heat, but I’m ok with that since I don’t need as much during the winter months and it keeps me from having to go buy fresh basil for garnish and such.  Money saver!

This weekend I spent much of my time harvesting basil and making fresh pesto, pesto to freeze in ice cube trays and also Freezing Basil with extra virgin olive oil in ice cube trays.

For this post, I’m going to share my fresh Basil Pesto recipe.  For the other recipes, click on the links and you’ll find them in another post.  Pesto is so versatile and can add flavor to soups and stews, pasta dishes and even pizza!

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Here’s how I make mine.

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

For a day long project like this, I’ve gotta get my sweet tea with lemon ready and sitting nearby.  Who would of guessed.

Basil Pesto

After washing and drying basil leaves, weigh 1.5 ounces in a bowl.  That is about 2 cups lightly packed.  I just find it more consistent to weigh it.

In the bowl of a food processor with the blade in place, put in about half of the basil leaves.  Process it just enough to shred it up a bit and make more room for the rest of the basil leaves and ingredients.  I would let it process for about 30 seconds.

Basil Pesto

Add the remaining basil leaves.

Basil Pesto

Then add the toasted pine nuts, crushed garlic and salt.

Click on Toasting Pine Nuts link to see the super simple way to make them!

Basil Pesto

Lock on the lid and turn on the processor to low speed.  Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil.  Continue to process on high for about 30 seconds more.  You will probably need to open it and scrape down the sides a couple times and continue to process until it’s the consistency you like.

Basil Pesto

Add the Parmesan cheese, put the lid back on, lock it in place and pulse just enough to mix it all in.

Basil Pesto

And you have the most wonderful fresh Basil Pesto!

I love pesto in a simple pasta dish.  Here’s my Pesto Radiatori.  Click on the link or picture to see that recipe.  It’s so simple!

Pesto Radiatori 

Another idea is to spread this pesto on slices of bruschetta topped with mozzarella cheese and melted under the broiler for a few seconds.  This makes a great appetizer!

How do you like to use pesto?  There’s also so many different variations of pesto.  Some people like to use walnuts instead of pine nuts, or they’ll add fresh parsley leaves.

Freezing Basil Pesto

Want to know how I freeze this delicious pesto?  Check out my post on Freezing Basil Pesto!

Basil Pesto

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Here is the printer friendly recipe:

Basil Pesto

Yield: 1 cup

Pesto is so versatile and can add flavor to soups and stews, pasta dishes and even pizza!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 net weight ounces of clean and dry basil leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor with the blade in place, put in about half of the basil leaves.
  2. Process it just enough to shred it up a bit and make more room for the rest of the basil leaves, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the remaining basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic and salt.
  4. Attach the lid and lock it in place.
  5. Turn on the processor to low speed.
  6. Slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Continue to process on high for about 30 seconds more.
  8. Open it and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula a couple times and continue to process until it's the consistency you like.
  9. Add the Parmesan cheese, put the lid back on, lock it in place and pulse just enough to mix it all in.
http://sweetteawithlemon.com/basil-pesto/

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