Pesto derives its name from the Italian word “to pound”–which is a nod to its traditional preparation. Garlic and pine nuts were combined and pounded into a paste with a mortar and pestle; fresh basil, salt, Parmesan cheese and olive oil were gradually pounded into the mortar as well. Sounds delicious! But it also sounds like it requires a lot of arm strength…
Lucky for us, however, we have food processors that do all of that hard work for us!
I used to buy the instant pesto mixes at the grocery store and thought that making it from scratch would be complicated and difficult. But as long as you have a food processor, you can make fresh basil pesto in less than 5 minutes–no lie. The hardest part about making this pesto recipe is the trip to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. And once you have basil pesto in the fridge, you can use it in so many recipes: on pasta, with chicken, slathered on grilled steak…
I’m getting hungry just thinking about all of the different ways to use pesto, and I hope you are as well! If you want a stellar homemade pasta recipe try mine out! So let’s get started, shall we?
Here are the ingredients I’m using today:
2 packed cups of fresh basil
⅓ c. raw pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ c. Parmesan cheese
½ c. olive oil
salt, to taste
As for materials, I’m using a food processor and a scraping spatula. A word of warning about food processors if you don’t use them often or this is your first time: the blades are very sharp, so never reach into the bowl with your hands if you can’t see the blades clearly! Most food processors have a safety lock that won’t allow you to start the machine until the lid is firmly locked in place, but double-check just to make sure. Safety first!
Place the basil leaves and pine nuts in the food processor and pulse until combined. Here’s the before picture:
…and the after!
Add the garlic and cheese, then pulse until combined.
Scrape down the sides with a spatula.
Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the food processor through the spout while leaving the food processor on.
Carefully remove the bowl from the engine that it locks into, then remove the blades. Scrape the pesto into a bowl. Ta-da! You’re done.
The pesto will be good for up to a week in the fridge, but can be easily frozen for later use. A great way to preserve the pesto while making it easier for individual use is to freeze the pesto into ice cubes on a tray. That way, you can easily control the amount of pesto you use while being able to preserve its freshness.
Like I said earlier, you can serve the pesto in a lot of different ways… but one of the best ways to serve pesto is with pasta, and the best kind of pasta to eat it with is homemade pasta noodles! You can find my homemade pasta recipe here! It’s definitely more work than throwing ingredients into a food processor (like this pesto recipe), but as you can see in the picture below: it’s worth it!
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