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!
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
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.