Pesto Presto! This savory herb sauce is super easy to whip up. And classic pesto isn’t just for pasta, so blend and enjoy!

Summer hits and all I want to do is eat from the garden. I don’t have a garden though. HA! However, I do have a New York City terrace and have become the best potted gardener ever.

I usually have one big pot of basil growing, along with my tomatoes and other herbs. Last year I tried peas and beans, but they didn’t make it to the kitchen because I ate them as I picked them! The basil grows really well so about every month I get enough to make my classic pesto.

Classic Pesto
A block of Parmesan lives on the back of my cheese shelf, so I already have that. I keep my pine nuts in the freezer so they don’t go rancid. But if I don’t have pine nuts on hand I use almonds or walnuts! The nuts add a buttery, rich texture to pesto, so mixing it up is just fine.

It blends up in minutes and you can keep it in the fridge for several weeks. Make a double batch if you have the basil, because it will freeze for up to a month.

TIP: To intensify the green color of your pesto, blanch the basil for five seconds in boiling water; then shock them in ice water and squeeze dry; continue with the recipe.

Although is at it’s best on a good bowl of pasta, I use this classic pesto on grilled shrimp or lamb chops, even steak and chicken. I mix it into tomato soup and spread it on bread when I make sandwiches. It’s really the spread and condiment of the summer. Get creative and let me know how you use it in your meals!

Classic Pesto

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

Classic Pesto

To intensify the green color of your pesto, blanch herbs for five seconds in boiling water, then shock them in ice water and squeeze dry; continue with the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • ¾ cup (3½ oz) pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
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Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal, August 2010
Photo Credit Antonis Achilleos
Food Stylist Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop Stylist Paige Hicks

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