What do you do when you have an abundance of basil in your garden this time of year? You make pesto! Pesto is so versatile and can be used in so many different applications and recipes.
What is pesto?
It’s a bright green sauce that traditionally consists of basil, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese and pine nuts. It originated in Italy but is now enjoyed all over the world. Pesto is typically made by crushing the ingredients with a mortar and pestle.
What can I use pesto for?
Traditional pesto uses pine nuts, but don’t let that stop you from using other types of nuts. Pestos are wonderful with almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts. Use any that you like and really make this recipe your own.
Basil is the main ingredient in pesto, but you can add another herb or leaf to accompany the basil to add a different flavor. You can add parsley, arugula, spinach, oregano, baby kale, or any other leafy greens to your recipe.
When it comes to the oil, premium quality extra virgin olive oil is undoubtedly the best choice for making fresh pesto. The flavor of the olive oil really comes through in the pesto and you want to ensure you have the best tasting oil to enhance the flavor profile of the pesto.
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 1 cup
Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 10 minutes
3 cups basil
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place garlic cloves in the food processor and process until minced.
2. Add basil, freshly grated parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
3. Start the food processor and slowly stream in the olive oil. Add more olive oil for a looser texture.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
You can refrigerate this for up to a week, or you can freeze this pesto, and use it for the months to come. I like to put it in ice cube trays and freeze so I have portioned out cubes of pesto ready to go in my freezer.
This is a classic base recipe for pesto, but feel free to add different ingredients and truly make this your own!
If you enjoy this recipe, check out The Chopping Block's upcoming classes to learn more about flavors, pestos and cooking techniques. Here are just a few that I'm excited about:
- Essential Building Blocks Saturday, July 22 9am
- Summer Surf and Turf Saturday, July 29 6pm
- Know your Gnocchi Tuesday, August 1 6pm (We turn pesto into a delicious cream sauce in this class!)
- Rendezvous Under the Stars Saturday, August 26 6pm (This class features pesto on a grilled flatbread!)
- Date Night: Summer Dinner Party Saturday, August 26 6pm (We make a beautiful Arugula-Basil Pesto and serve it with grilled salmon in this class!)