Friday, August 26, 2011

Homemade Basil Pesto

Cooking with fresh herbs is one of my greatest joys. They add a punch of flavor to whatever is cooking. As I sit writing this, I can see the end of summer on the horizon, and this also means the end of my herb garden. For the last couple of weeks therefore, I have been trying to take advantage of my beautiful basil, rosemary, thyme, mint and parsley plants.

While I don't have a favorite herb, nothing says summer like fresh basil and fresh basil can only mean one thing . . . PESTO!

Pesto is absolutely delicious, and it can go in just about everything. Canned pesto in the winter is incomparable to this vivid, intensely flavored sauce, it really is the taste of summer. If you have never made pesto, do yourself a favor and give it a try. You won't know what you are missing until you do. It may just change your life.

The following photos are courtesy of my sister Lara who did a wonderful job putting together this yummy bowl of pesto!

A beautiful summer jewel

 Grab a bunch of basil

 Grate up some Parmesan cheese

 Don't forget the walnuts

 Then find the best bottle of olive oil you can find

 Get all of those ingredients together

 Put everything but the oil in the blender and 
give it a whirl

 It's ready to eat after you add the olive oil

 Ready for anything!

 Preserving some of summer in ice cube trays

Just freeze up and place in bags and you're ready to go

Note: It's easy to just eyeball it when making pesto, but if you want a good recipe, here you go.

from: The Sauce Book, by Paul Gayler
  • 2 1/2 ounces basil leaves (about 3 cups, lightly packed)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (the best you can find)
  • salt
  • pepper

Put the basil, garlic, nuts and Parmesan in a blender. With motor running, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream through the feeder tube, and blend until smooth. (You can also pound the ingredients in a mortar and pestle before adding the oil.)

Add salt and pepper to taste, transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. 
Tip: You can replace the basil with another favorite herb; parsley, cilantro, or mint for example.    


  1. A good pesto can really works wonder... right. Yours looks delicious.
    I love the suggestion of trying different herbs. Will try for sure.
    Such beautiful picture of pesto.

  2. It really can work wonders, thanks. Another great pesto idea is arugula pesto, one of my favorites.

  3. Basil pestos are my all time fav sauce for pasta and at times I like to use roasted garlic. Add a nice smoky flavor to it.