Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Pesto

What a lovely weekend.  My mom drove down on Friday (a little to my surprise) to spend the weekend with me and so she could go car shopping.  Listen, her car needs to be replaced!  She shipped her car with her to Hawaii, where the paint proceeded to erode.  Honestly, we saw it as a badge of honor while we were there.  When we pulled into a beach or went for a hike somewhere, it said, "Yes, I've been here for a bit."  We should have had a topcoat put on the car when she first arrived, but we didn't, so it now looks the way it has started to drive.

Anyway, it should be a great weekend with my wonderful mother!  She actually helped me harvest my basil this morning.  I've had several batches of pesto already from it, with a picking here or there for a sauce or soup, but this is my last picking for the year.  I actually was able to get about three batches out of it.  Two of them were with pine nuts and then one with walnuts when I ran out.

I don't actually measure anymore, but here is the "gist" of the recipe I love and use all the time:

2 C. packed basil leaves (I use enough to fill my food processor bowl)
3-4 cloves of garlic
3 Tbsp. of pine nuts or walnuts
1/3 C. Olive Oil
1/3 C. Parmesan (Or Parm/Reg mix)

Pulse together the garlic and basil leaves to get a basic chop going on the two.  Open the food processor and add your nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan.  Pulse it all together to make a thick paste.  If it's really too thick, add a touch more olive oil.  If it's too thin, add a little more cheese or basil leaves.

I keep a little fresh in the fridge (no more than a week) or mainly put it in an ice cube tray and freeze them.  Once they are frozen, I pop them out of the trays, and put them in a freezer bag so that I can use them for the winter.  Technically these should be used up in three months, but I have used them a little longer and they have tasted fine in soups and sauces.

To reuse them, you can either put them in the pan you're making your pesto sauce to let them thaw (I never microwave these) or I just pop them in my sauces and soups frozen.  These are great in any spaghetti sauce or tomato-based soup like minestrone.   I also love to heat up a little cream, add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a couple of these pesto cubes.  This is definitely NOT diet food, but it makes an amazing, creamy pesto sauce.

For more weekend cooking, go to Beth Fish Reads.  You'll find all sorts of great food-related posts and recipes!


  1. I love pesto!! I am actually going to make some tomorrow. I really need to harvest my basil plant and my rocket salad as well. Before the good weather is over and they will freeze to death.

  2. Great stuff!! I have a recipe on my blog if you want to compare :<)

  3. How nice that you got to spend some time with your mom and make great pesto at the same time :)

  4. Those are close to the proportions I use too. I love the cube-size pesto -- perfect for popping in to a soup for extra flavor.

  5. I love fresh basil. I always have at least a pot of it growing. I like the sound of your pesto.

  6. Sounds great! I will have to try it out sometime.

  7. Pesto makes me so happy. I like the idea of freezing them in an ice cube tray.

  8. How do you get your basil to grow so much? Our basil plants only ever produce a few leaves. I pick like 3 and start to worry I'm going to kill them. :p