Hello from Union Pier, Michigan! This is one of the most peaceful places to visit any time of year and the focus of the day is always on slowing down. With this slow living mentality in mind, I wanted to share this Simple Basil Pesto that is far from simple in flavor.
Pesto is one of the easiest things to make. You combine minimal ingredients in a blender or food processor and slowly add the olive oil until it’s well combined and the texture is smooth. Pretty easy, right?
I like to freeze my pesto to have on hand for a long time. I use an ice cube tray to separate small, individual portions of it. I can just grab one little ice cube sized portion from the freezer to use per recipe. A little goes a long way and I’ve used it with a variety of foods like chicken, pasta, sandwiches and pizzas.
I wanted to test making pesto with our purple basil. I mixed the purple leaves with the green leaves (use the leaves only, not the flowers) and while the taste wasn’t too different, the color looked a lot more rich than it does when I use green basil alone.
Use Less Cheese
I went easy on the parmesan only using 1/3 of a cup, but a lot of people prefer a half cup. I recommend tasting as you mix. I also added a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end, which brightened up the flavors.
SIMPLE BASIL PESTO
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (I used purple and green basil leaves)
- 1/3-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Fresh lemon juice, to taste
- Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a Vitamix or food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Slowly add half of the olive oil while pulsing the pesto.
If using Pesto immediately:
- Add the rest of the olive oil and transfer pesto to a bowl.
- Mix in the cheese and stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice for brightness.
If freezing the Pesto:
- Transfer to an air tight container and drizzle oil over the top.
- Freeze for 1-2 months.
- Thaw and stir in the cheese, salt and pepper and a light squeeze of lemon juice.
Do not use the basil flowers when making pesto. Either discard them or use them in making tea.
All images ©Regan Baroni 2017.