I discovered pesto as a young cook many years ago. My mother in law is an amazing cook, and served it in an unforgettable pasta dish. Ever since, I’ve been making my own. I hate buying it, because it never has the same fresh taste. I eventually got frustrated at paying $3.00 for a tiny bag of fresh basil and started growing my own. Now that my basil has been “goin’ to town” (as my mom would say), I’ve got some pesto making to do!
I grew this from seed. Yes indeedy.
It’s difficult to give actual measurements for a pesto recipe. It’s one of those things that I adapt according to how much basil I have. All I can tell you is that you want enough olive oil to make it a little drippy, but not too thin. And you want really good parmesan. Buy a big wedge of the aged variety.
This is a recipe that calls for a food processor. If you don’t have one, it’s an essential tool you can’t live without. Tell your spouse that. You need the right tool for the job.
3 cups of basil leaves
1/4 c fresh parmesan (Cut a nice hunk off your wedge, and throw it in the food processor. It will be the perfect consistency in a couple pulses.)
1/4 c (or more if needed) extra virgin olive oil (This is important. Use the bright, green variety for the most flavor.)
1/4 c pignoli (pine nuts) toasted (I use my toaster oven for this, but watch closely!)
If you’re using a wedge of parmesan, put that in the food processor first. Then add the basil and pulse a couple times. Add the garlic clove (you can use garlic salt for a milder garlic flavor). Drizzle the olive oil in the feed tube with the blade running. Add the pignoli last. Pulse. Pour into a bowl and add sea salt to taste. Drizzle with a little more olive oil to get the perfect consistency. Fresh pesto usually browns a little on the top as it sits in the refrigerator, but no worries, it’s still good. Fresh pesto also freezes beautifully.
Enjoy drizzled on roasted tomatoes, or chicken or shrimp topped with mozzarella. I also like to stir into linguine and top with shrimp and parmesan.