Perfect Basil Pesto
Sauce | Dip
About this Recipe
By: Morgana Jane
It’s fresh Basil time, and what could be more wonderful than putting up a ton of basil pesto while the sun is shinning and the basil is fresh!? Nothing. I mean seriously – who of us does not appreciate a plentiful supply of fresh basil pesto to get through the winter months??!
Basil pesto is so quick and easy to make – once you have made a batch, you will wonder why you ever bought it pre-made! And it keeps very well in the freezer. There really isn’t a good reason not to have it on hand year round!
- 100 g (3.5 oz) fresh Basil, stems removed
- 1/3 c pine nuts (you can substitute walnuts or almonds)
- 1/3 – 1/2 c fresh grated Parmesan Cheese (depending on how cheesy you like your pesto)
- 4 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped (Don’t be shy with the garlic – I use 6 cloves, but 4 is likely satisfying for most people!)
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- Fresh Lemon Juice (I cut an 1/8th of a lemon wedge and squeeze it in)
- ½ – ¾ c Olive Oil
The farmer’s market in our neighborhood is teeming with fresh basil right now, so I am going to be in full on pesto production next week! But I happened across a small bag of fresh basil at our local grocery store, on sale for $1. Fresh, organic Basil… One dollar!! I grabbed it and here is the result:
Basil, tastes amazing, is crazy versatile, and is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K. Also plentiful in potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus and is touted for being a great antioxidant with powerful antibacterial properties!
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 – Wash and Let It Dry!
Gently rinse your basil, shake off excess water, then lay it on a towel to air dry, turning frequently so that the basil dries completely. I wash mine one day, let it dry, then pop it in the fridge overnight and make my pesto the next day.
Step 2 – Prep & Process
When the basil is dry remove leaves from the stock and remove stems from the base of the leaves (stocks and stems make for bitter pesto). Place basil leaves into a food processor along with pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Pulse a few times until ingredients are chopped to a uniform, medium consistency, then drizzle in ½ c of olive oil and process on a higher speed until smooth. Add more olive oil if it’s too thick – but don’t over-do it. You want your pesto to have good texture and body. You can always add more olive oil when you use it, if needed.
Step 3 – Put a Lid on It
Scoop pesto into a jar with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. It will keep well for about a week.
If you want your pesto to have a longer life span, scoop it into smaller containers and freeze it! Pesto freezes well and freezing it is a great way to keep fresh pesto on hand year round.
Step 4 – Make Something Awesome!
… Maybe something like this!