Fresh Basil Pesto
There is nothing better than fresh basil during the summer months. It’s one of my favorite herbs to cook with and over the past few summers, I’ve been making batches of pesto so that my family can enjoy the sweet and savory flavors of basil all year long.
I typically grow 5-6 plants in my garden each summer. This allows me to make about 5 large batches of pesto throughout the summer. I then freeze the pesto so that I have a quick and effortless dinner solution during the winter months. We use it on chicken, pizza and pasta because it instantly creates a flavor explosion!
I use mason jars or silicone popsicle trays to freeze the pesto in. The popsicle trays are reusable so when I’m done freezing a batch, I pop the pesto out of the trays and store them in ziplock plastic baggies. About 1 pesto pop is enough for a box of pasta!
I also highly recommend this olive oil. When making pesto, you want to use higher quality olive oil, for a richer and more robust flavor. You don’t want a blend. The blends often have filler oils. Take a look at the back of the bottle and it should just say that it’s from 1 location. (often you’ll see it says product of: Greece, Italy, Spain). This product says product of Italy. The blended oils are better for cooking with.
I also recommend a high quality cheese like Locatelli’s Pecorino Romano. It’s an aged Italian sheep’s milk cheese with a sharper, saltier flavor than regular parmesan. This cheese is a staple Italian cheese in the northeast! If you can’t find it in your area, I like to use Belgioiso Parmesan too.
Here is the blender that I use. It is incredibly versatile and I use this for smoothies and soups as well! I also usually purchase small and medium mason jars and extra plastic caps because fresh pesto makes great gifts (think fathers day or birthdays) in the summertime. People really appreciate receiving something homemade!
|Prep Time||15 minutes|
- 2 cups Fresh Basil packed
- 1/2 cup Frozen or fresh spinach (or kale) (optional for added nutrition)
- 1/2 cup Locatelli Pecorino Romano (or parmesan) fresh grated
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup Pine Nuts You can substitute with cashews
- 3 cloves garlic peeled
- 1/4 tsp Salt more to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper more to taste
- Pick and rinse the Basil
- Combine the basil, spinach/kale, grated cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse in a food processor or blender several times until the mixture is finely chopped.
- Slowly add the olive oil while pressing the pulse button on your blender. Pulse 3-5 times until everything is combined. If you like a creamier basil, continue pulsing. If you like the mixture finely chopped, with a little bit of texture, you are done!
- Pour into silicone popsicle molds or mason jar and freeze. OR eat fresh on tomatoes or crackers for a tasty treat!