Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

One of my favourite things about the summer is all of the fresh basil and one of my favourite things to do with the basil is to make basil pesto. Basil pesto is as easy to make and pureeing everything in a food processor and it captures the essence of summer perfectly. The easiest way to enjoy basil pesto is on pasta but you can also use it as a condiment and it adds a ton of summery fresh flavour to whatever you add it to and I particularly like adding it to sandwiches. Another great thing about basil pesto is that it freezes well so you can save some of summers essence for later. If you plan on freezing it omit the parmigiano-reggiano and add it when you thaw it out.

Basil Pesto

(makes 1 cup)
Printable Recipe

1 cup basil (packed)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano (grated)
3 tablespoons olive oil
lemon juice to taste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place everything into a food processor and blend.

Use in:
Caprese Chicken Pesto Pasta
Parmesan Crusted Pesto Tilapia Bruschetta
Bruschetta Chicken Pesto Tart
Diced Caprese Salad
Creamy Pea and Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad
Grilled Portobello and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Pesto
Diced Caprese Salad with a Pesto Dressing
Caprese Sandwich
Asparagus and Zucchini Farro Salad
Tilapia with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
Slow Roasted Tomato BLT
Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Tomato and Basil Pesto Parmesan Tart
Asparagus, Baby Artichoke, Pesto and Goat Cheese Quiche with Quinoa Crust
Pesto Guacamole
Pesto Zucchini Fritters with Caprese Bruschetta Topping
Creamy Parmesan Tomato and Spinach Tortellini Soup
Pesto Zucchini and Corn Quinoa Salad

Similar Recipes:
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Pistachio Asparagus Pesto Pasta
Spinach Pesto (aka Spanakopita Pesto)
Swiss Chard Pesto
Roast Zucchini Salsa
Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich with Halloumi
Pesto Grilled Shrimp Caprese Quesadillas


Dawn said...

Basil and pine nuts are two of my favorite things. Mmmm....

The Girlie Blog said...

I love basil too. I am either going to try this one or the tomatoes. Scared to roast pine nuts for the first time, but I'll live.

Paul said...

Do you think a lot would be lost from omitting the pine nuts?

Do you think there is a good alternative to pine nuts?

Claudia said...

Spent Saturday "harvesting the basil." 16 cups of basil for the winter!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Could you use this as a sort of salad dressing? If I tossed it through some spinach leaves, tomato and bononcini cheese? Looks so fresh..

Daniel Bingham said...

Yum. Basil pesto. I grew up on that. Every summer my mom and our neighbor would buy out the farmer's market of basil one morning and the two of them would spend all day making basil pesto. We would freeze it in eight ounce containers and eat it all winter. Her recipe was always very straight forward. Fill the bottom 1/3rd of the food processor with pine nuts. Pour in enough olive oil to cover them. Add a few cloves of garlic. Then fill it with basil and blend down. Fill it again and blend it again. Repeat that until it reaches the liquid line. Very basil heavy pesto - delicious! I've been seeing a lot of recipes that use smaller amounts of both pine nuts and basil though. And toasted pine nuts sounds brilliant. I'll have to try this recipe and see how it compares :)

velva said...

Every summer, I stock my freezer with homemade basil pesto. This season I even took a leap and made a mint pesto.
Yours looks fabulous.

Delishhh said...

It was be pesto season and trying to clean our your basil from the garden. I just did a pesto the other day. Then i put it in my minestrone soup! It was fabulous!

Susie Bee on Maui said...

So many pesto recipes to pick from! I recently made pesto with basil and walnuts; pulled it out of the freezer this week and smothered chicken with it for baking. Made a tender, tasty meal!

Kevin said...

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany): Basil pesto works great as a salad dressing. Just add a bit more lemon juice and you are good to go. It also works well with a bit of mayo as a dressing for a potato salad.

Paul: You could easily replace the pine nuts with another nut. I often enjoy changing things u a little by changing the nut and thus the flavour profile.

Paul said...

I was wondering if sunflower seeds would be a replacement to nuts altogether.

Kevin said...

Paul: Using seeds in a pesto sounds good! I have not tried it yet but now I am going to have to now!

Lynn said...

I'm also wondering, Kevin, why it is recommended to add the cheese later if you're planning to freeze your pesto. We frequently freeze our store-bought pesto (with cheese) when we know we won't eat it up by the expiration date, and it has always been fine once thawed. All summer, as I've made pesto and stuck the extra in the freezer, I have left the cheese in. But I've read online a couple of places lately to omit cheese if freezing and add it later. Any thoughts as to why?

Kevin said...

Lynn: You certainly can freeze pesto with the cheese but I find that adding freshly grated after thawing just tastes better and you can get fresh cheese in the middle of winter. Having said that, I do sometimes freeze pesto with the cheese in it if I plan on using it in the near future as it is quicker that way. :)

Maki said...

Your pesto looks really tasty, I'll try the recipe... But I have to ask why are you putting in lemon juice? The original recipe doesn't have it. And you should also add pecorino (and parmigiano) cheese. Another tip: you don't have to grate the pine nuts, they taste better when fresh. This is the classic Pesto alla Genovese recipe :D

By the way I really love your dishes, you're a great chef and have a plenty of good ideas!

An Italian follower

Kevin said...

Maki: I like the bit of freshness that the splash of lemon adds, though it is completely optional. A bit of pecorino also works well in pesto. Thanks for the tips!

Natalie said...

Catching up on my unread posts in google reader and I've got about one billllion of your recipes open.

I think your photography is great. Something I need to perfect - suppose I have to get a good camera first.

Anyway, it's coming on to summer in Australia and I can't wait to harvest my first batch of basil from the garden. First thing I'll try is this basil recipe.

Where do you get all your ideas & how often do you cook in your closet? (I'm sure I could read your about page, but I just don't have the time what with all the catching up on your recipes!)

Kevin said...

Natalie: I cook almost every day and on the weekends it is particularly busy! I found that the most important thing for improving my photos was the lighting. I do not have good natural light so I needed a lamp.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I can't find a vegetarian 'parmigiano-reggiano'i don't think one exists :-/
is there anything i can substitute it with?

Kevin Lynch said...

Sandra: I have not tried it but I have seen vegetarian parmesan online, using vegetable rennet instead of animal. (eg BelGioioso Cheese) Nutritional yeast would probably be easier to find and 1/4 cup ought to do as a replacement for the parmigiano-reggiano.

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