How to make the best homemade pesto with basil, walnuts, garlic and olive oil. Skip to the Easy Basil Pesto Recipe or read on for our prep tips.
Easy to prepare, pesto is a versatile sauce for pasta, meat or vegetables. We use our food processor which makes it quick. You can also do it by hand with a mortar and pestle.
*YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This Easy Chimichurri Sauce Recipe. Chimichurri is a sauce made from herbs, garlic, vinegar, chili pepper and olive oil. It animates almost anything you throw at it.
We love this recipe and make it often (especially in summer). It’s easy and quick to do. Let me show you how to do it and our tips to improve it.
Here’s how to make our easy basil pesto
Pesto is easy to prepare. In a food processor, puree the garlic, walnuts and fresh basil, then drizzle with olive oil until a sauce forms.
To make it better, let’s share some tricks we’ve learned over the years:
Tip 1: Blanch the basil. I know it sounds a little crazy but trust me. Blanching the basil will make the pesto as green as possible. Have you ever noticed that pesto turns brown over time in the fridge? Or even when you add it to hot pasta? Blanching the pesto prevents this. It includes the light green color of the leaves. We blanch the basil in our recipe below. If you are not convinced, you can always use our recipe without bleach. It still works.
If you dare, discoloration is easy. Submerge basil leaves in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds, then submerge in ice water. Clean the leaves and continue to prepare the pesto.
Tip 2. Make the garlic into a paste. We love garlic, but we’re not big fans of biting into a big chunk (especially when it’s raw). That’s why we make the garlic into a paste before adding it to our pesto. To do this, mince the garlic, then scrape it onto a cutting board with the flat side of a knife.
Tip 3: Add the cheese last. A little texture in the sauce is a good thing. We don’t add cheese to the food processor, we make the pesto and then add hand-grated parmesan to add texture.
- If you can’t find pine nuts, try walnuts. They’re buttery and work well in pesto. You can also prepare pesto without nuts. The texture will be different, but the sauce will still taste fresh and delicious.
- Add more herbs. Add a handful of parsley or mint leaves to our recipe below.
- Make vegan pesto. Replace the cheese with a non-dairy cheese or add 2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor.
- Add the vegetables. Replacing some, if not all, of the basil with spinach, Swiss chard, or beet greens is a great option. We’ve even done this with kale before.
What to do with pesto?
If you’re looking for ways to use pesto, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our favorite things to do with it:
*YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: We love quick and fresh dinners. These soba noodles drizzled with basil pesto hit the spot. Continue with the Shrimp Pesto Soba Noodles recipe.
Updated recipe originally posted August 2013. Since it was posted in 2013 we have changed the recipe for clarity. – Adam and Joanne
Easy basil pesto recipe with lots of tips
This basil pesto recipe won’t brown when you make it or mix it with hot pasta. By quickly blanching the basil, which takes less than 10 seconds, we lock in the green color of the basil and prevent it from turning brown over time. It’s an extra step to making pesto, but it doesn’t take long. If you prefer not to blanch the basil, you can omit it. Our recipe can be made with fresh or blanched basil.
Makes about 1 cup
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for storage
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepare a small bowl of ice water. Bring a small saucepan half filled with salted water to a boil. Place basil leaves in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds or until wilted. Then immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain, squeeze to remove excess water, then pat dry with a clean towel.
Mash and peel the garlic clove, then chop it. Hold a chef’s knife at an angle and scrape the chopped garlic with the knife blade. Bring everything together and then scrape against the board again until it becomes a fine paste.
Combine the garlic paste and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2-3 times until finely chopped. Add basil.
With the mixer running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl. After adding all the oil, check the consistency of the pesto, we like it when it has some texture. Pulse a few more times for a smoother pesto.
Place the pesto in a bowl and add the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Use it right away or save it for later.
Advice from Adam and Joanne
- To store pesto in the refrigerator: Add a thin layer of additional olive oil (to keep the air out), cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- How to Freeze Pesto: If you freeze it, omit the cheese. Fill ice cube trays with pesto, freeze hard. Then store the frozen cubes in freezer-safe plastic bags. Freeze up to 1 month.
- Nutritional Information: The nutritional information below is an estimate. We use the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
If you make this recipe, take a picture and use the hashtag #inspiredtaste. We love seeing your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste
Nutritional value per serving: Part 2 tablespoons / calories 143 / total fat 15.4g / Saturated Fatty Acids 2.9g / cholesterol 3.6mg / sodium 90mg / carbohydrates 0.5g / fiber 0.1g / total sugar 0.1g / protein 2.1g
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Source : inspiredtaste.net