Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homemade Pesto

Pesto was not something my family ate as I was growing up. Heck, we didn't even eat alfredo sauce at our house--we are very much a tomato-based sauce family. Imagine my surprise when I moved to grad school and my roommate has this green sauce she smears over pasta, chicken, fish, and pretty much anything else you want to be delicious.  Her mother makes it in large batches and we store it in the freezer and ration it for as long as possible! With some extra time on my hands this summer, I decided to try and make my own...here is the story that ensued!

You need:
3-4 Cups of Basil Leaves (fresh, not the spice kind you get in flakes in a jar)

  • Note: Its best if these come fresh out of the garden, but seeing as my mom and I kill every plant in sight, I had to resort to store bought.  While this sounds simple, I went to 3 grocery stores and ended up having to go to Wal-Mart before I found enough to make it! I bought some that was stored in a plastic container in the fresh produce area. I bought three containers containing 2.5oz apiece, but ended up only needing two.

4 Cloves of Garlic

  • My roommate's mom's recipe said to use four cloves, but the next batch I make I think I'll include a little more....its hard to beat good, fresh garlic! On that note, I'm obsessed with my mom's garlic press and am definitely going to need to get one before I go back to school in August!

1/2 Cup of (good) Olive Oil

  • I used what we had in the pantry and chose it over the other brand in the pantry because the bottle was prettier. In my head prettier = better quality.

1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, grated

  • I bought a small container of Parmesan from the grocery store. It can pre-grated and looked good. You could easily by a chunk of Parmesan and grate it yourself, and I'm sure the kind you shake out of the bigger containers on pasta would work just fine too!

1/2 Cup of Pine Nuts

  • I used the Alessi kind that I found in a jar at our local grocery store.  I bought two containers, not knowing quite how much it would take me to get to 1/2 cup. The small container I bought gave me just under 1/2 cup and I just went with that.

Sea Salt

  • Add to taste!

Food Processor

  • As I discovered when I was attempting to make the Oreo crust for my Peanut Butter Pie, my mom didn't own a food processor. However, we did find one in the cabinet at our cabin and brought it home for me to use. I washed it, plugged it in, placed the ingredients in and......nothing. Broken. So I called a neighbor/friend of my mom's who likes to cook and asked if I could borrow her food processor. She said that she had one but never used it so I was welcome to take it and have it. I went and picked it up, washed it, placed my ingredients in it, plugged it up and.....nothing. Again. This one was also broken. So I had to make a quick Target run to purchase a food processor so that I could use all the fresh ingredients I had already bought!
First, you wash the Basil leaves, place them in a colander (you know, the strainer you use to drain water out of pasta, etc) then pat them dry with a thin hand towel. Place the leaves into the food processor and add the Pine Nuts, then turn on the processor and let the two combine.  Then you add the garlic (not the whole clove, actually put it through the garlic press first) Sea Salt, and the Parmesan cheese and combine these into the Food Processor with the Basil Leaves/Pine Nut concoction (turn it on and let them mix).  Then you'll add the olive oil and turn on the food processor again, running it until you like the consistency! 

Its really a pretty simple, easy thing to make, unless you've got to go to four stores for basil leaves and try out three food processors!
Basil Leaves

Basil Leaves, Sea Salt, Pine Nuts
Basil, Pine Nuts, Sea Salt...Mixed
Olive Oil, Parmesan

Will definitely be making this again soon! 


  1. This sounds great & very simple to make! That's definitely a change from tomato based sauce though.

    xo katie elizabeth

  2. I love pesto but I never made it myself. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I should give it a try.

    Have a nice day :)

  3. Its definitely worth a try! Once you have all the ingredients (and a working processor) it only takes about 15 minutes to make!