The tail end of the gardening season always leaves me with lots of basil that has grown much bigger than I could ever use in another caprese salad. We have been eating caprese salads for every. single. lunch. the past two months and while I love garden tomatoes, it may be too much of a good thing at this point :)
I'm craving some carb-forward goodness after all those salads. Pesto sounded wonderful to me, and hey, I'm still using garden produce, technically.
My favorite recipe uses lots of fresh basil, good quality extra virgin olive oil, toasted pine nuts, fresh shaved parmesan, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. All you need after that is some salt and pepper for seasoning. I have never really managed the trick on keeping the "bright green" color for long-term pesto storage. if you have tips, feel free to share with everyone. I will say....even a dark green pesto tastes wonderful, so don't be discouraged if that happens.
Read below tips on freezing for later use.
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- 2 C fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 pine nuts, toasted lightly
- 1/2 C fresh shredded parmesan
- 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper for flavor
- optional-pinch of red pepper flakes for a kick
- Lightly toast pine nuts for no more than 2 minutes on low in skillet
- Pulse basil, pine nuts, and parmesan together until blended.
- Add lemon juice and slowly pour in the olive oil.
- You may need to add slightly more olive oil to thin it out to a consistency you like
- Finish with salt and pepper to blend together.
- Food processor seems to be one of the easiest ways to blend everything up, I would recommend this.
- I like to freeze any leftovers in an old ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer cubes to an airtight freezer-safe container. This way you can pop out cubes of pesto in the right amounts you need from the freezer!
- I had lots of basil, so I doubled this recipe very easily for more.