Pesto Presto!

If your garden is like mine, you have So. Much. Basil. right now. You also have poison ivy, and you have cucumbers and squash growing where your hydrangeas used to be, in a flower bed right in front of the house, but that’s another story.

Anyway, what to do with all the basil?

Make pesto, of course!

Now, I’ve never made pesto, so I thought I would share my first attempt with you through photos. And since it turned out to be DELICIOUS, I hope you’ll give it a try in your own kitchen!

Here’s what my basil looked like before this activity:


I know. Bushy and overgrown, much like quarantine hair. I cut quite a bit of the basil and ended up with an armful that looked like this:


I washed the basil and snipped off the leaves (just using my fingers, which are now green) to measure two packed cups. I put the basil in the food processor. Then I added 1/3 cup of pine nuts, which I had toasted in the toaster oven for just a few minutes.


This is what it looked like:


I pulsed the mixture several times, until it looked like this:


Next I minced 3 cloves of garlic and added that to the mixture in the food processor, along with 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese.


Then I pulsed the mixture several more times, after scraping down the side of the processor.


Then I added 1/2 cup of olive oil in a thin stream while the food processor was running. I let it run for about ten seconds (and yes, I did try to fancy-up the photo).


This is what the pesto looked like when I turned off the food processor:


Finally, I added a pinch of salt and let the food processor run again for several seconds. Then I put a dollop of pesto on three bread rounds and we tried it. Yum! For those of you who might be wondering, I do not normally garnish our plates like this. I did it purely for your visual enjoyment. In truth, we would normally just scrape the pesto up with the bread and eat it over the sink like uncivilized boars.


If you make pesto, be sure to put it in the fridge, covered with plastic (press right down onto the surface of the pesto) so the air doesn’t get to it. In this case, the pesto filled one of my glass jars right to the top, so I didn’t need any plastic wrap.

Here’s a recap:

2 c. basil, well-packed

1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 c. olive oil

dash salt, if desired

Place basil and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse several times. Add garlic and grated cheese; pulse several times again.Β  Make sure you’re scraping down the side of the food processor occasionally. Using the food processor’s tube, pour the olive oil into the processor in a thin stream while the machine is running. Season with salt.

Pesto is delicious on bread, but you can also mix it into soups, try it in place of pasta sauce, replace pizza sauce with on your favorite homemade pizza, jazz up a sandwich, or make a compound butter with it.

Next I’m going to try oregano pesto. We’ll see how it goes.

What is your favorite thing to make with garden bounty or summer vegetables and herbs from the farmers’ market/grocery store?

Until next time,


33 comments on “Pesto Presto!

  1. dgkaye says:

    I love pesto, thanks for the storage info. Time to make some. Although it’s like the price of caviar with the price of pine nuts here, crazy! πŸ™‚ xx


  2. Presto, pesto. Only it’s not so presto, is it? Takes some work! I love the smell of basil. And I’d love the smell of pesto except for the garlic. ;-0


    • amreade says:

      I think you could leave out the garlic. It’s John’s favorite thing in the culinary world, so I don’t skimp. I don’t skimp on mouthwash, either. πŸ˜‰


  3. maggie8king says:

    I’ve made it and it’s fabulous. And easy. It took a lot of basil to make 2 packed cups, so that pretty much did it for me (I only had 1 large plant).


    • amreade says:

      I was also surprised by how much basil it took to make a batch, but after I was done I made a second batch…and there’s still LOTS more outside. πŸ™‚


  4. Maude Mayes says:

    I just loved this photo recipe approach! Thanks. I am definitely trying this as we too have tons of Basil. πŸ™‚


    • amreade says:

      Thank you, Maude! I’m thinking I might make this type of post a regular monthly feature. It can’t compare with some of the cooking blogs out there, but that’s okay with me. So glad you stopped by!


  5. CarolCooks2 says:

    I am the same as you, Amy nothing beats homemade pesto reading this made me want some… I could taste it …Yummy πŸ™‚


  6. MomzillaNC says:

    Sounds heavenly. Good job toasting the pine nuts. That’s the trickiest part of making pesto. I ruined my first batch of nuts the first time I made it. So, I under toasted that next batch of nuts and that made my first pesto not great.


  7. I’ve always wanted to know how to make pesto, Amy, so thanks for this recipe. How nice that the basil is from your own garden.


  8. Great recipe for pesto which we enjoy in soups, pasta dishes and anything that needs a bit of zing.. thanks Amy.


  9. Pat Wahler says:

    I never thought before about trying to make pesto. Maybe I’ll give it a try.


  10. Lelia T says:

    Mom, I love pesto, especially on tortellini πŸ˜‹


  11. jenanita01 says:

    I have just printed your recipe into my cook book, for I love pesto, but the shop bought ones don’t taste right!


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