Recipes

Recipe Ready Basil Pesto

The Basil harvest is wonderful for me this summer. This is the second “big” harvest of this fresh herb from my small container garden. I expect to make two more batches of basil pesto for my freezer through September. I’ve also had fresh basil to add to dinner salads, dressings and pasta since June. It has been wonderful. I love summer cooking!

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I’m sharing my recipe as a guideline or starting point for you to make, freeze and use through the winter in your recipes. I add a tablespoon or two in soups, or a teaspoon in salad dressing to enhance the fresh flavor. Or add to a meat marinade. I like this more than dry herbs. My recipe is more concentrated which suits my purposes. Of course, you could change the ratio of ingredients and use this as a jumping off point.

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I store in a canning jar for the refrigerator only. I don’t process Basil Pesto for home canning because there is no safe way to do it. It is not shelf stable, it must be refrigerated or frozen for longer term preservation.

A favorite for me is to put a tablespoon of pesto in a dish and add extra virgin olive oil and a little crushed red pepper. Sometimes I may add a little balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon into the dish. I tear off some fresh bread and drag through the mixture. Follow with a sip of Cabernet Sauvignon!

Perfection!

I also use the pesto olive oil mix, to spoon over a sliced  baguette and of course sprinkle with extra Parmesan . Bake it at 400 for about ten or fifteen minutes until it’s toasty and crisp! A little bit of heaven with a hot bowl of soup.

I’m calling it Recipe Ready Basil Pesto, because I make it a little more concentrated to freeze with the idea that you will add more extra virgin olive oil, or use it in recipes.

Let’s get to the ingredients list.

Fresh clean Basil ready for the recipe.

Recipe Ready Basil Pesto

6-7 cups fresh picked, washed and dried  Basil

5-6 cloves of garlic

2/3 cup Grated Parmesan like Parmigiano Reggiano, or whatever fits the budget

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 tsp of black pepper

1  1/2 -2 cup extra virgin olive oil (you may want to adjust the amount of oil to your preference).

1/2 tsp of salt (You may want to add the salt last, because the cheese is also salted. Taste first, and then add salt according to your preference).

Toast the pine nuts by heating a dry flat bottom pan over medium-low heat. I add all the pine nuts and keep them moving in the pan by lightly stirring and tossing the nuts around until they acquire a beautiful tan color. The aroma is delicious. If the heat is higher than medium you risk burning the pine nuts and they are too expensive to burn – so be patient they tan up fast.

Add some of the basil and some of the olive oil to the food processor. Add all other ingredients (remember holding back the salt until after tasting) and pulse a few times to chop and incorporate. The top of my food processor has a reservoir that slowly drizzle’s the oil while pulsing. So I add the oil to the reservoir and continue to add the rest of basil.

Add all the toasted pine nuts, all the parmesan, garlic, pepper, some salt, some oil, some basil. Pulse to incorporate, and continue to add the rest of the ingredients.
I scrape down the food processor several times during the process to make sure nothing is caught under the blade and so all the ingredients mix well.
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All the ingredients are incorporated and it’s ready to use!
Use the basil pesto to enhance any recipe. I like to add olive oil, red pepper flakes, balsamic and bread slices. Eat happily!

My recipe makes a lot of pesto for freezing. I use small snack size zipper bags to store about 1/2 cup of pesto per bag. Those bags are then stored in two additional large freezer zipper bags. Better safe than freezer burned.There is no safe way to home can Basil Pesto, so please freeze the ingredients.

I’ll happily go through my winter supply of pesto before I have to buy jarred pesto at the grocery store. It’s summer goodness for my winter blues. It reminds me summer will be around soon. Notice the three bags for freezing.

Freezing is a great way to preserve herbs from your garden for future recipes.

I’ll be enjoying summer goodness all winter long!

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3 thoughts on “Recipe Ready Basil Pesto

  1. Love, love, love pesto! Thanks for sharing your tips!! Love your ideas for other ways to use it all season long.. I get caught up with pasta/pesto.. will try it in soup, meats sauce and on toasted crostini… yum!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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