Traditional Basil Pesto

traditional basil Pesto 1200

Traditional basil pesto is made by hand with a mortar and pestle, and is thick and silky smooth. My everyday pesto is a much easier rustic version that is unashamedly chunkier. It’s still fabulous! Summer isn’t summer for my family without basil pesto. It goes on pasta, chicken, cheese sandwiches, tomatoes, pizza … you get the picture, right? We eat it all the time, in lots of ways. Good thing it’s easy to grow, and it needs frequent cutting, too. Win-win!

 

Traditional Basil Pesto makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 3 plump cloves garlic, peeled
  • generous pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 large bunch of fresh basil, yielding 3 cups packed leaves (3 oz)
  • 1/2 c plus 1 Tbsp mild olive oil (5 oz)
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ounce grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Put garlic cloves, salt, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Whiz to chop finely and combine. Add the basil leaves, and whiz again. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube, and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the cheeses, and puree about a minute more.

Serve, or store with a thin film of olive oil on top. Pesto does not freeze well – to freeze, omit the cheese, and add it in once you’ve thawed the basil/oil paste.

NOTE: if you don’t have pine nuts, you can use raw almonds or walnuts, or even sunflower seeds. Adjust the ingredients and proportions to fit your taste and what’s on hand. 

traditional basil Pesto 1200

Traditional basil pesto

Course: Sauce, Condiment
Cuisine: Italian, American
Keyword: freezer, basil, fresh basil, pesto
Prep Time: 15 hours
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 hours
A rustic version, a bit chunky, still delicious
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 plump cloves garlic, peeled
  • generous pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts, about 1 ounce
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil, yielding 3 cups packed leaves (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ounce grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Instructions

  • Toast the pine nuts for fuller flavor – but if you’re rushed, you can skip that step. 
    If pine nuts are hard to find, you could use almonds, walnuts, even peeled sunflower seeds.
  • Put the pine nuts, garlic cloves, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Whiz to chop finely and combine.
    Add the basil leaves, and whiz again. 
  • With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube, and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.
    Add the cheeses, and puree about a minute more.
  • Serve, or store with a thin film of olive oil on top

TO FREEZE PESTO

  • For larger amounts, ½ cup or more: transfer pesto to a sealable container, and cover the surface with a very thin layer of olive oil. Tightly seal the container, and put in the freezer. That layer of olive oil will minimize browning on the surface of the pesto as it freezes.
    These larger quantities of pesto are perfect for a whole-meal recipe.
  • For small amounts: put spoonfuls of pesto into ice cube trays, and freeze until solid. Once the cubes are solid, transfer them to a zip top bag.
    Pesto cubes are excellent for a hit of flavor. Incorporate a cube into a soup or stew, or defrost to spread a bit on a sandwich.

Notes

NOTE: if you don’t have pine nuts, you can use toasted raw almonds or walnuts, or even sunflower seeds. You can make a milder pesto with half spinach. This is flexible: adjust the ingredients and proportions to fit your taste and what’s on hand. 

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: CSA week 14: Cooler Weather - Get the Good Stuff!

  2. Pingback: CSA wk 10: halfway done! | Get the Good Stuff!

  3. Pingback: CSA week 5: summer produce arrives | Get the Good Stuff!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome

I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

Get all the Good Stuff

Never miss a post! Add your email here.

Blog Posts by Month