Fresh basil pesto adds such a nice dynamic to foods. I love it on breads, meats, pasta and salads. It’s very easy to make.
I grow my own basil but with a recipe like this needing three packed cups, I’m definitely going to have to plant more.
My basil is a little more yellow than normal. We had a few cool days and several storms, without the light and heat needed, the leaves began to change. There are many reasons basil changes colors…fungus, aphids, lack of nutrients and root rot. I narrowed mine down to growing conditions. However, it did not change the taste but I miss my pesto having that brighter green color.
IS YOUR BASIL TURNING BLACK?
Why does basil start to turn black right after harvesting? It doesn’t like a drop in temperature. Coming from hotter outdoor temperatures to washing it under cold water can cause the leaves to blacken. Only wash basil when ready to use. Otherwise, store it in the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel. This should cut down on the dark spots.
Toasted pine nuts in this recipe gives it a nice depth of flavor. It’s the classic way of making basil pesto. Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. until golden brown. Pine nuts are small and can burn easily so check them periodically. You can replace pine nuts with walnuts, pistachios, pecans or almonds. Pine nuts can be expensive. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s for better prices.
If you have an allergy to nuts, try using pepitas or sunflower seeds. Though pine nuts are technically a seed, there are studies that show possible nut allergies to them.
Blend toasted, cooled pine nuts, cheese and garlic on pulse for about 1 minute until finely ground. Add basil leaves, place top back onto processor. With processor on, add olive oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is smooth. About 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store pesto in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. You may also freeze it. Use ice cube trays to freeze into smaller servings and store in a freezer bag for up to 6 months. No matter the size of the batch you’re freezing, 6 months still applies.
I use chocolate bar molds to freeze herbs in olive oil and store pestos. I found these on Amazon (not affiliated). It’s easy to break off squares when creating a dish. The above photos are oregano.
I love it on sandwiches!
- Food processor or blender
- Rubber spatula
- 3 cups basil fresh, packed
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup pine nuts toasted
- ¾ cup parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper
- Toast nuts on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F. until golden brown. Transfer to a food processor or blender and allow to cool.
- Add cheese and garlic, pulse for about 1 minute until finely ground.
- Add basil leaves, place top back onto processor. With processor on, add olive oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is smooth. About 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.