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Fresh Basil Pesto

Two tall basil plants, one oregano plant, and terra cotta Asian garden lantern and a nutcracker who looks like a chef.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Pesto… It’s Pesto! I couldn’t help but take a picture of Pepé next to these basil plants. I was showing a friend how big the plants have grown. He laughed and said, “It looks like Pepé’s tree house.” I think Pepé would really dislike living in a tree house. He’s made of wood and doesn’t like bugs – especially termites. LOL

Making fresh pesto is incredibly easy and has many uses. I like to eat it on slices of rustic garlic bread (the same bread I make my croutons with). I take it as an appetizer to parties all the time. You can also put it on pasta, chicken, fish, pizza, potatoes and just about anything your taste buds desire.

What if I don’t have Pine nuts?

I used to use pine nuts instead of walnuts for many years, but they are pretty expensive and I discovered that there are regions in Italy that prefer walnuts over pine nuts. I made the switch and nobody even noticed. I’ve been told by many of my friends that my pesto is the best. I do recommend that you grow your own basil plants in the ground in full sun because buying cut basil is not cheap either. I can buy a whole plant and stick it in the ground, wait a month and have more than quadrupled my amount. I usually have so much basil by the end of summer that I chop it and freeze it in ice trays. Later, I can use those to season other recipes.

Garlic and basil pureed in a food processor to make basil pesto

Put basil, garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender and mix. If you want to freeze your pesto or in general, want to keep it nice and green, then blanch it in boiling water for about 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels and then follow remaining steps.

Walnuts and cheese added to the food processor to make basil pesto. There's a nutcracker in the foreground who looks like a chef

Scrape the sides, add walnuts and cheese and blend some more.

Adding the oil to the food processor to make fresh basil pesto. There's a nutcracker in the foreground who looks like a chef.

Add some oil while machine is running (about 1/2).

Pureed basil pesto in a food processor with a small amount on a red rubber spatula for tasting. There's a nutcracker in the foreground who looks like a chef.

Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Add more oil while machine is running until you get the right consistency. It should be about a medium paste and not too runny.

bright green homemade basil pesto in a clear glass bowl with a sprig of fresh basil on the rim of the bowl. There's a nutcracker in the foreground who looks like a chef.

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Fresh Basil Pesto

This is a easy, delicious and versatile thing that you will enjoy
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 Cups

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups basil leaves (Medium Packed)
  • 5 Garlic Gloves
  • 2/3 Cups Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (Can sub any grated parmesan cheese)
  • 3/4 Cup olive oil (More if needed)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • If you want to freeze your pesto or in general, want to keep it nice and green, then blanch it in boiling water for about 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels and then follow remaining steps. (optional) Nice way to have fresh pesto in the winter.
  • Put basil, garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender and mix. Scrape the sides, add walnuts and cheese and blend some more. Add some oil while machine is running (about 1/2). Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Add more oil while machine is running until you get the right consistency. It should be about a medium paste and not too runny.
  • Another option is to mix part of the ingredients now, freeze it, and add the rest later. To do this, combine all ingredients except for nuts and cheese. Add nuts and cheese after thawing. I used to do this until I figured out how to just freeze the whole recipe. (see step one) otherwise it starts to turn a very dark green.

Notes

If you blanch your leaves for just a minute or two, your pesto will  stay a bright green for much longer. Even after freezing. 

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