Wednesday, July 10, 2013


If you've been following my blog for a while, then you know I love food and love to cook. So it's kind of hard for me to admit that, before now, I had never made my own basil pesto. What took me so long! I've made other variations of pesto -- parsley, pea, even broccoli -- but never basil. I suppose one reason is that I haven't had luck growing basil in the garden. But this year I planted some in a container and positioned it so that it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. It seems to be happy in this spot.

Nothing beats the taste of basil pesto, and it is really easy to make. If you haven't tried making your own, you must. The most difficult part, in my opinion, is hauling out the heavy food processor and then cleaning it. See below for a simple recipe.

Basil Pesto
1) On a cutting board, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt over 1 peeled garlic clove and roughly chop. Using the flat side of a knife blade (or bottom of a metal measuring cup), crush the garlic mixture into a thick paste. 

2) Add to a food processor along with 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or another nut; I used walnuts), 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped. 

3) With machine running, add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and pulse to combine. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. 

To store, place pesto in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed against surface of pesto so it doesn't oxidize and turn brown. Keeps a few days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. Makes 3/4 cup.
from Everyday Food

Ways to use pesto:
  • Tossed with freshly cooked pasta
  • As a base for homemade pizza
  • Drizzled over grilled fish or vegetables
We used ours to make a potato and green bean salad, and for lunch I spread some on toasted slices of French bread and layered on a few slices of fresh tomato to make the most wonderful sandwich. So summery!


  1. I too LOVE pesto and while i have the basil in my herb patch growing nicely, it's the food processor I don't have (I only have a small mini-chopper)... Getting a proper food processor is on my list of 'must buy soon' items :) I love pesto spread on ciabatta toast with chopped tomato on top and a sprinkling of feta bruschetta style or added to homemade minestrone soup - it gives it such a lift. I haven't tried it on fish but will definitely give that a go as it sounds delicious. Thanks for the tip re: freezing and cling wrap :) Hope all is well over your way xx

  2. Homemade pesto on pasta would make a great summer dinner. The color is so gorgeous.

  3. Que delicia, eu amo esse molho pesto. Aqui eu passo uma camada fina no pão e coloca no forno para gratinar, fica muito gostoso.
    Tenha uma ótima semana.

  4. The potato and green bean thing sounds amazing! The thing I love about pesto is you can use it right out of the freezer almost. It thaws almost instantly. It's great for a quick dinner of pasta, chopped fresh tomatoes, add some pesto and some parm and you're ready to eat in 15 minutes.

    1. That's just what I did with some remaining pesto the other night! I cooked up some whole wheat spaghetti and tossed it with chopped fresh tomato, the pesto and added white cannellini beans for protein. It was quick and delicious.

  5. Your basil is gorgeous, Claudia! We have had so much rain and cloudy days that mine are puny this summer. Really disappointing but the lawn and plants are so happy and green that I will accept the trade. My favorite way to eat pesto is what you mentioned above with spaghetti. Will add some cannellini beans the next time, great idea!

  6. I love pesto! I do grow basil,...but of course there is never enough for endless pesto batches. So I buy it at the farmer's market on Saturdays: $2 for a huge bag! And...I have a secret ingredient!!!! I'm going to post my recipe (after much debate as to whether to "go public" with it) some day soon. Same basic ingredients, with one addition. So now, you're just going to have keep checking in!
    Anyway, enjoy yours! (and I agree, the biggest pain is hauling out the Cuisinart!)

  7. Gorgeous and delicious! We make pesto pizza and also put it on spaghetti squash! Like I need to give you recipes...


    xo Terri

  8. Looks delicious & so pretty, Claudia! I thought my basil plant was doing well, until seeing yours! :)

  9. Yum! Pesto is my favorite thing about summer gardening!


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