We returned from a fun, family-filled and freedom-licious long weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks to a very full basil plant. When your basil needs to be trimmed, it’s time to make pesto! As soon as we lugged in everything from the car, I trimmed our basil to keep it from going to seed.
Fresh pesto is one of my favorite things about summer. It’s perfect for making a not-too-heavy pasta dish that pairs perfectly with some grilled chicken and veggies… which is what my meal consisted of after making pesto.
To start, trim four cups of basil leaves and put them into a food processor or blender. I used a food processor with an “S” blade.
Toast the pine nuts over medium heat until they are slightly golden brown. This shouldn’t take more than 2-3 minutes. Add these to the basil.
Add some (1/2 Tbs. or so? … I’m really bad at measuring this kind of stuff out.) olive oil to the pan. Once it’s heated, add the crushed garlic to the pan and saute it for 2-3 minutes. Once slightly browned, add it to the basil and pine nuts in the food processor.
Pour the olive oil in and blend until smooth. Stop frequently to push the sides down. This is what I deemed “smooth.”
Add the coarse salt and grated Parmesan to the mixture. Freshly grated Parmesan is ALWAYS better, but hey, the canned stuff will do in a pinch and it still tastes great. Blend this mixture until smooth. Makes one cup. Once in the container (I used a canning jar) add olive oil on top to completely cover the surface. This helps keep the pesto fresh by keeping oxygen out.
Now comes the hard part – do you eat it fresh or freeze it for a pick-me-up later?
If you’re eating it right away, the pesto should stay fresh for about a week. I can honestly say I’ve kept it longer than that and nothing bad has happened, BUT for ultimate freshness, eat within a week.
If you’re freezing your pesto to reward yourself in the future, it will stay at ultimate freshness for 3-4 months.
4 cups fresh basil
1/3 C Pine Nuts (toasted)
4 cloves of garlic (sauteed)
1/2 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Parmesan cheese (grated)
1 tsp. coarse salt
Trim the basil from its stems. Toast pine nuts over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until golden brown; remove from pan. Saute crushed garlic in olive oil. Combine the basil, pine nuts (toasted), garlic (sauteed) and olive oil in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, stopping often to push down basil.
Add the Parmesan and salt; blend until smooth. Use immediately or store in airtight container with a layer of olive oil on top of the pesto in the refrigerator (5-7 days) or freeze (3-4 months). Enjoy!
If you try it out, let me know how it goes!