Basil pesto is a staple everyone should know how to make: it’s versatile (put it on eggs, pasta, risotto, fresh vegetables, chicken, sandwiches, wraps, stir it in a soup, etc.), it’s delicious, and it’s EASY!
Tip: Fresh pesto will keep in the refrigerator for a week or two. You can also make a big batch and freeze it for several months in ice cube trays. Use the pesto “cubes” as needed. If freezing, don’t stir in the cheese; stir in the cheese by hand just before serving.
Time: 5-15 minutes
Makes about 1 cup
Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
- 2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, big stems discarded, rinsed and dried
- ½ to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, or more
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)
- salt, to taste
1. Combine the basil, salt, garlic, nuts and about half the oil in a food processor or blender (or mortar and pestle).
2. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container occasionally, and adding the rest of the oil gradually. Add additional oil if you prefer a thinner mixture.
3. Stir in the parmesan by hand just before serving.