I will pretty much put basil pesto on anything. Pasta, bread, chicken, fish, whatever. My love for pesto even inspired me to learn how to grow basil the right way. It’s that serious. Today’s recipe is the most basic basil pesto you can get, but it’s SO GOOD. Once you have this recipe down, you can throw in fun ingredient variations to put your own spin on it.
Start by pruning your basil plants until you have 1 packed cup of leaves. Store-bought herb packs will also work for this recipe if gardening is not your thing. This recipe makes a small batch of basil pesto, but it can easily be doubled (or tripled!).
Combine basil, nuts, garlic, and oil in a food processor. I prefer pine nuts for basil pesto, but almonds were the only thing available in my pantry today. Walnuts will also work!
Pulse slowly until you have a relatively smooth-textured basil pesto. If you’re going to be using this pesto right away, go ahead and mix in the cheese with a little bit more oil. Done!
If you’re like me and prefer to have pesto on hand at every possible moment, transfer your mixture (without cheese added) to a freezer-safe container. I LOVE this one. It has a silicone lid that comes off easily, and no precious pesto sticks to the smooth plastic on the inside either.
Top each section with about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil before putting the lid on the container. This helps protect the pesto from freezer burn and browning. Freeze the container and then rest easy knowing you have a full stock of basil pesto! When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw a cube or two and add cheese.
I like to throw these cute little pesto cubes into pasta sauce from time to time–they can go directly from the freezer into the pan. Or, sometimes I let them thaw (takes literally 2 minutes) and then spread them onto chicken or salmon. Yum!
- 1 cup packed basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- ⅛ cup pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Place basil, garlic, nuts, and oil into food processor. Pulse on low until smooth.
- If serving immediately, add cheese and additional oil to the food processor and combine.
- If freezing, transfer to freezer-safe container and top with oil. When ready to use, thaw and add cheese.