Basil Pesto

basil pesto

This is the first year I have actually done quite well growing basil.  In the past, I’ve been too nice to the plant and ended up with tall, scrawny things that yielded scant leaves and then died in the summer heat – mostly because I got fed up and ignored it.  I started with small plants from the home improvement store and planted them in early March.  Once the plants were about 6 inches tall, I got brutal.  I pruned every time I saw a set of two leaves – that’s when I pinched – just above the two leaves.  My brutality has resulted in some beautiful specimens!  I have harvested them a few times for pesto and sauces.  At the size they are now, I have to pinch off the flowers every morning when I water my garden to keep the basil producing more leaves.

Basil Pesto
Basil Pesto is very easy to make and is so flavorful and versatile!  Use it on pasta, crostini, pizza, beef, chicken, fish or vegetables. Prep Time: 15 minutes. A cool feature about this recipe module: You can change the number of servings and see the ingredient quantities adjust. Give it a try! Change the Servings from 4 to 6 and see what happens!
: Main Dish
: Italian
: 4
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves to taste
  • ¼ cup pine nuts toasted
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • ½ cup fresh Parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 medium ice cubes
  • ¾ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Prep: Toast the pine nuts in a dry, non-stick pan until golden brown. Toss them frequently as they can get too dark quickly! Mince the garlic and pack the basil leaves in a 2 cup measuring cup. Grate the cheese.
  2. In a blender, add the garlic, pine nuts, cheese and salt. Blend to a rough paste.
  3. Next, add the ice cubes and basil and blend to a rough paste. Do not blend too long so that the basil remains bright green.
  4. With the blender running, stream in the olive oil until smooth.
  5. Taste! Season with salt if necessary and add lemon juice. Use immediately.
If you really like a garlicky flavor, use 4 garlic cloves.  It is quite potent!  I typically use 2 large cloves or 3 medium.  Also, when you work with basil, it is important not to bruise it.  Adding the ice cubes in the blender cools the blades so that the basil has a fighting chance to keep its color.  The lemon juice helps it keep its green color, as well.  The pesto should be used immediately over pasta, meats, pizza, or vegetables.   If you have some leftover, put it in an airtight container and cover liberally with olive oil and refrigerate.  It should be used with a few days.




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