Homemade Pesto

To me, pesto used to be one of those things that sounded mysterious and difficult to make.  However, I found that pesto is actually super easy…plus, it is very delicious and versatile.   Homemade pesto is also a great way to use up extra basil you don’t want to waste.  I usually keep a box of pine nuts or walnuts in my pantry for just that occasion.

Now,”traditionalists” would say it’s not “real” pesto unless it is made with a mortar and pestle, but I’m surely no traditionalist and my food processor does a fine job.  Just stick all the ingredients in, shut and pulse.  Easy, right?  Try not to puree the pesto to an entirely smooth consistency.  Instead, try to keep it coarse…as though it was made with the mortar and pestle.  Sneaky, I know.  Though, if you like it smooth, go right ahead!

Pesto has its use in many dishes.  I spread it on my turkey, pesto and cheddar panini, use it as a sauce on my pesto and goat cheese pizza, combine it with freshly cooked pasta and add a few tablespoons to my tomato sauce for a good basil kick, just to name a few.   It also keeps for quite a while in the fridge and can be frozen.

For storage in your fridge, just make sure there is a decent layer of oil on the surface (it will surface on its own).  If there’s isn’t enough after a while, you can add a little to help it out.  This will help it keep for a greater period of time…though, as tasty as it is, it’s bound to get used up long before it would ever go bad!

Homemade Pesto

2 1/2 oz fresh basil

1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2-4 cloves garlic (depending on how strong of a garlic taste you like)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to your desired consistency.  You can also pulse the garlic and pine nuts together before the other ingredients to break them down a little bit more.

Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. BreAnne says

    ok, i’ve just started getting in the kitchen for real in the past 6 months. I’ve learned a lot just by watching the chefs at the fine dining restaurant where i bartend. I try a lot of things and fail at a lot of things. I am so thrilled I found your blog! I can definitely see how it will really help me.

    Thanks!!!

  2. says

    As one who cans ALL THE TIME, I would advise against canning pesto… it’s not acidic enough, and has a higher risk of growing yucky things. Better to freeze it or give it as a fresh gift. The reason you can purchase it on the shelf at the store is because it has lots (and I do mean lots) of extra stuff added that you really don’t want to add to your homemade pesto. It does, however, make a fantastic gift when given fresh with some pasta in a strainer!

  3. melissa says

    This sounds delicious! I have been growing my own Basil and thought that giving homemade pesto would be a great gifts. Will this recipe can well or would it be better to give it fresh? Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Debora! You know, I’ve never tried freezing my pesto, but I did some research for you and found it can freeze up to 3-6 months. If you intend to freeze the pesto, leave out the parmesan and add it when you thaw and use the pesto because cheese doesn’t tend to freeze well. Good luck!

  4. says

    Just wondering, do you have a basic measurement for about how many cups 2 1/2 ounces of fresh basil would be once it was all chopped up? I don’t have a way to determine how many ounces I’d have, but I’m definitely wanting to try this.

    • says

      Hi Laura. Very good question! Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact measurement (but I will pay attention next time I make pesto!), However, I would estimate it is between 3-5 cups if that helps you. I typically buy fresh basil in a 3-oz. container. I hope that helps.

  5. Anna Claire says

    I love pesto! I like to add a little citrus to mine…either a squeeze of a lemon or even an orange! I think it really lightens it up!

    love your blog…just discovered it :)

  6. says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE pesto, and I am definitely going to have to try your recipe this weekend. Also, Love your blog, I always look forward to seeing what you cook up next

  7. says

    Yum! This is the exact pesto recipe that I usually make. But just recently, someone gave me a tip to try using roasted pine nuts. I normally just used raw, but I thought I’d give it a try. While I was whizzing them in my food processor, they gave off the most indescribably delectable smell, and my pesto tasted amazing! I highly recommend it, as it only takes a minute to toast them dry in a frying pan. :)

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