Ultimate Basil Pesto

A couple of things about pesto:

  • Basil pesto is one of my all time favorite things in the whole world.  I could eat it by the spoonful, although I prefer to spoon generous amounts of it over pasta.
  • Homemade pesto is better than store-bought (although I’ve tasted a few brands that come close)
  • Pesto is one of the easiest things to make….ever.
  • Unless you like serious manual labor via a mortar and pestle,  you really should own a food processor to make this.
  • Pesto keeps in the fridge for weeks (with a thin layer of olive oil over the top) or better yet, frozen in cubes or small zipper plastic bags.
  • Pesto can be expensive to make, especially if you are using good quality EVOO, Parmigiana-Reggiano.  And pine nuts, well there’s just no way around it, they’re not cheap!  Having fresh basil in your garden can save you a little money.  Just keep in mind that you use it sparingly.  Two cups of pesto will go a long long way.
  • Feel free to substitute walnuts for the pine nuts.  In fact the recipe on which mine is based calls for walnuts.  I find them to be a bit too prominent, so I have substituted pine nuts.

I could continue, but I’m sensing you would rather just get on to the recipe.  Also, I need to get moving and pack for our “final hurrah” at the lake house.  Bidding you adieu and happy cooking!

Ultimate Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves

4 medium-size cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup pine nuts

1 cup best-quality olive oil

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (preferably imported)

¼ cup grated Romano or Asiago cheese

Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Process the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.  With the machine running, pour in the oil in a thin, steady stream.

Add the cheeses, a big pinch of salt and a liberal grinding of pepper.  Process briefly to combine.  If not using immediately, place in a container and cover with a very thin layer of olive oil.  Cover and refrigerate.  For freezing, place in quart-size zip-close bags (be sure to squeeze out all the air).  Or…alternatively, make a big batch and freeze in ice cube trays.  Transfer frozen pesto cubes to a freezer-grade zip-close bag and store in freezer until ready to use.

Yields:  2 cups (enough to coat 2 pounds of pasta)

5 thoughts on “Ultimate Basil Pesto

  1. Pingback: Grilled Pesto Chicken & Tomatoes | Dinner Is Served

  2. Yum! Please share the store bought brands that you would recommend. Have a great weekend! Looking forward to more Dinner is Served postings.


    Sent from my iPhone

    • Thanks so much Elsa! In general I think it’s best to stick with locally made pesto that is refrigerated. Stay away from mass produced, shelf stable pesto products or any pesto that comes in a tube. Locally, we have a store a few towns over in Westmont, Illinois (Standard Market) that sells an excellent pesto. Trader Joe’s pesto is decent as well. Have a great weekend!

  3. Pingback: Pesto Roasted Fingerling Potatoes | Dinner Is Served

  4. Pingback: Grilled Pesto Chicken & Tomatoes | Dinner Is Served

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