This is my all-time favorite pesto recipe, and one of my favorite recipes period. It’s great with pastas, gnocchi, paninis or sandwiches for a quick meal, and can be used in various other recipes.
I realize it may seem like a daunting task to make your own pesto when it’s just so convenient to buy it in a jar- but trust me, the taste and freshness is well worth making your own. If you’re still hung up on the convenience of pre-made pesto, why not make a large batch, portion it, then freeze it for future use (otherwise known as “freezer cooking”)? This is especially great when you can find a large bunch of basil at your local grocery store, or if you grow it yourself.
Unfortunately, between the cats and myself, we tend to kill any poor houseplants (including herbs) that find their way into our home. But luckily, our local italian market sells large bunches of basil for cheap.
PREP TIME: 20 min COOK TIME: 0 min TOTAL TIME: 20 min YIELD: 4
- 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
- 2 tbsp of pine nuts (or pistachios)
- 1 walnut (optional if you don’t happen to have any)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (or just more Parmesan if you don’t have any or can’t find any)
- pinch of salt
- Mince garlic and add a little bit of oil then add the pine nuts and walnut and blend; I prefer using a hand mixer, but a food processor should do the job.
- Add the basil and a pinch of salt then blend a bit at a time turning the food processor on and off rather than letting it run continuously so you don’t “cook” the basil.
- Add the oil blend again (not too much).
- When the pesto reaches a smooth consistency put it in a bowl, add the cheese and lemon juice and combine well using a wooden spoon. Presto, pesto!
Because I usually just make this for my husband and myself, I would divide up this recipe and reserve half for another day. Often I will double or triple this recipe and divide accordingly and freeze for future use. I find a convenient way to do this is by dividing the pesto using a silicone muffin pan, freezing then removing the “frozen pesto discs” and storing in a freezer bag. I hope you enjoy!