Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Homemade Basil Pesto

Pesto is a summer treat that I look forward to every year. I always try to grow a couple Basil plants so that I can make fresh basil pesto in the summer.

Typically Pesto is a combination of fresh basil, olive oil, fresh garlic, pine nuts, (Pine nuts are quite expensive and not widely available. Some people substitute almonds, walnuts, or even pecans), grated Parmesan cheese, and kosher salt ground into a paste.

Pesto makes a great addition to pasta, potatoes, lightly cooked vegetables, like sautéed zucchini or steamed green beans. You can garnish meats with Pesto, broiled fish, grilled chicken, or steak for example. I like to add it to Alfredo sauce.

Brown rice and chicken topped with Pesto Alfredo sauce next to a side of sautéed zucchini.

You can make pesto in large quantities when basil is in season and freeze it in small containers for enjoyment during the cold months. Pesto is very flavorful. I used two thirds of this size batch to flavor 1 1/2 cups of Alfredo surface. Here is the recipe I use to make pesto:

Basil Pesto

3 cups of fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups nuts preferably pine nuts (I used English walnuts)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 pinch black pepper
Place all ingredients into a food processor.
Pulse until mixture becomes a chunky paste.
Use in desired recipe.


Sunshine Country said...

I've seen recipes for pesto, and thought it would be neat to try, especially when we lived down south where pine trees and pine nuts were plentiful. :) Too bad I never did try it then. I really like the flavor of fresh basil, and would like to try growing more of it next year, Lord willing. This sounds so good!

Sister in the Mid-west said...

Sunshine Country,
Thank you for commenting! I have found growing basil to be very easy. It is pretty low maintenance. You should snip off the buds, though, to encourage more leaf growth. :)

Haley Smith said...

I have six basil plants which I purposed for making and freezing pesto but so far I've just used it in basil toss..

Sister in the Mid-west said...

Thank you for commenting, Haley!
I think you just decided what I will fix for dinner. :) I haven't made that dish in a while. I will go set some sausage out of the freezer to thaw.