Homemade pesto is one of my all-time favorite recipes. It is not only super easy to whip up a bunch, but it makes the best quick meals and you can freeze it for later use! It is one of the most versatile recipes I use, for sure! Basically homemade pesto is the reason for my over-zealous planting of basil plants every year as well. And I have a little secret about my pesto…
I have only made it with pine nuts once.
Pine nuts are the traditional nuts used in pesto but let me tell you what – those babies are EXPENSIVE!!! So I use whatever nuts I have in my cupboard.
Pecans? I use these most often.
Sunflower seeds? You betcha’!
And I’ve never noticed any marked difference. Cross my heart! Any mild-flavored nut is going to work.
So, if you have access to pine nuts – use em’! But if not, don’t you worry. All will be well…and delicious.
Homemade pesto only uses a handful of ingredients – basil, nuts, parmesan cheese, seasonings, and olive oil.
You simply combine them in a food processor and grind until they are smooth! I have also used my immersion blender and it works perfectly.
You’ll adjust the consistency with olive oil after you blend the other ingredients. See how it is thick?
Once you add the oil, it should be much thinner.
I actually leave mine a tad on the thick side because I like to freeze it.
I always adjust the consistency with pasta water once I’m cooking with the pesto. It makes dinner come together in a breeze if you have frozen pesto on hand! I just freeze it in ice cube trays and then pop them out and bag them once they are frozen.
It’s divine! So give homemade pesto a try. You’ll love it!
Homemade Pesto – Classic Basil Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves packed into the cup
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup nuts see note
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil or enough to bring pesto to desired consistency
- salt to taste
In a food processor (see note), combine basil, nuts, and parmesan.
Blend until smooth.
Gradually add oil, pulsing and checking consistency frequently. It should be about the consistency of a smoothie. Don't add it all at once, you may not need it all.
Add salt to taste - I usually add a little less than I normally would and then make the final seasoning alterations when it is combined in whatever I'm serving it with (pasta, sauce, etc).
Serve a few tablespoons over warm pasta (see note) or freeze in ice cube trays for later use. It also makes a great addition to sandwich spreads, creamy sauces, or bread!
• Almost any mild flavored, raw nut will work in this recipe. I use pecans most often but walnuts, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds also work well. • I have also used an immersion blender to blend pesto and it works fine. • The consistency of pesto can be altered in a pasta dish by using pasta water. • I like to use pesto sparingly, so I would serve only half of this recipe over 1 pound of pasta. Experiment to see what taste you prefer!
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