It’s always a good idea to have basil pesto on hand for easy, tasty, and last minute meals. Pesto can be readily store bought, or made from scratch within minutes. However, homemade fresh basil pesto from your garden is the shizz! It’s a quintessential, flavorful, “go to” sauce for pastas, salads, seafood, pizzas, sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres…you name it! Basil grows easily, abundantly, and just about any variety, from Thai to Genovese, creates an awesome pesto.
General rules for making the Besto Pesto:
- Use parmigiano-reggiano or perocino cheese.
- If you plan on making a lot of pesto and freezing it for later (I’m a fan of freezing in ice cube trays, then vacuum sealing cubes!), then leave out the cheese. Aged cheeses last a long time in the fridge, so when you’re ready to use your pesto, mix in the cheeses just before serving. This will keep the flavor and integrity of the cheese in your pesto.
- Use raw pine nuts rather than roasted ones.
- You will need a mortar & pestle, food processor, or good blender with a “chop” feature.
- 2 cups of packed basil leaves (no stems)
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup of pine nuts
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil (freshly pressed preferable)
- ½ cup grated parmigiano or perocino cheese
- ½ tsp of kosher salt
If you’re using a food processor, mince the basil, garlic, and pine nuts. Drizzle in the oil. After creating smooth pesto, stir in the cheese and salt.
With a blender, on chop mode, throw in the basil, garlic, and olive oil until finally minced. Add the pine nuts, cheese, and salt. Chop blend until smooth.
In an old school mortar & pestle, crush the leaves as best as you can. Crush in the garlic, then pine nuts. Drizzle the olive oil over the mixture, a little bit at a time, to help the process. Crush in the kosher salt. The consistency won’t be totally smooth like with a machine, but that’s okay. Bits of basil leaves will give your pesto a unique character and flavor. In a bowl, mix in the rest of the olive oil and the cheese.
In the end, you can always add more salt, garlic, cheese, etc. to taste, and more olive oil or basil for texture and consistency. If you’re feeling it, throw in some parsley or a dash of pepper. Play around with it and make this pesto your own besto!