We have a rather large herb garden on our property. It didn’t start out that way but many herbs are hardy here in Michigan and my small patches of 2-inch plants are now 6-8 feet wide! Basil isn’t hardy here but we spread many packets of seeds in the spring and the basil grows like crazy! An added bonus…Herbs are one of the few items that the deer won’t eat! Making pesto is super easy and a great way to use up the extra basil from your garden. Basil freezes perfectly and you can have a taste of summer all winter long. You can use pesto as a dip, marinade, add it to soups, stews, and chili as well. It’s like a flavor bomb! Six ingredients in a blender and BAM you are good to go!
When I make pesto I prepare enough for many meals. Please see my Delish Tips at the bottom of the recipe.
- Spatula spoon
- Small saute pan
- measuring cups and spoons
- 5 cups of basil leaves
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup of pine nuts (toasted)
- 1 tsp each of salt and pepper
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 1/2-3/4 cup of water
DELISH TIP 1:
Toasting nuts brings a depth of flavor to any dish you make. I put my pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat and shake them a little bit. They will get shiny and a little brown. They are expensive so watch them carefully. If you can’t find pine nuts you can use slivered almonds. Toast them the same.
DELISH TIP 2: Cool your pine nuts before starting your pesto. I’ve even chilled the glass part of the blender in the fridge before making it to keep the pesto nice and green. If the basil gets warm your pesto will turn brown.
DELISH TIP 3:
Pour your pesto into an ice cube tray and cover with plastic wrap. Once frozen you can pop them out and store in a container or ziptop bag. Each cube is one serving. So if you are making pasta for four people, melt four cubes of pesto in a pan, toss with your hot pasta, and Voila!
I throw cubes of pesto into my chili, spaghetti sauce, béchamel, scrambled eggs. I thaw it and spread it on chicken too.
It’s an awesome little condiment to have on hand. Be careful that you wrap it up immediately after making it. The top oxidizes quickly (turns brown). So press some plastic wrap onto the surface of your pesto so no air can get to the surface.