Homemade Pesto

1 Apr

I love pesto, and I love pasta. I really prefer creamy pesto, but in recent years I’ve found that a regular pesto is also pretty delicious.

Last summer I had a basil plant growing in a little pot on our balcony. It was really cute and awesome to have around. Problem was, I kept forgetting it was out there. I’d forget to water it for a week or two, then remember and bring it back to life with huge cupfuls of water. I actually did revive it a few times this way, but not without ill effects. The stalks became really woody and tough, and the leaves became less flavorful and a little bitter. After a few near-death experiences, it just wasn’t working out anymore, and I put the poor thing out of its misery.

But before it met its end, I got quite a few good leaves out of that basil, and with it, I made my own pesto. This project was actually my original reason for buying a food processor, if I remember correctly. I whipped up this pesto, which I used as a sandwich spread and as a base for a pasta sauce. I subbed inexpensive walnuts for harder-to-find, pricey pine nuts.

Basil, pre-haircut


Basil, post-haircut


Overall, I remember thinking that it just needed more. More garlic, more parmesan, more flavor. This recipe is pretty good — good enough that I’ll return to it again. But if you have a hit-it-out-of-the-park, homerun of a pesto recipe, please share! I’m thinking of getting a new basil plant this spring.

Homemade Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the basil and garlic, and pulse a few times until mixed.

While the processor is on, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream. Stop and scrape the sides of the food processor bowl with a spatula. Add the grated cheese and a dash of salt and pepper. Pulse until blended.


Serving Suggestions:

  • Crostini: Serve as a spread with toasted baguette slices.
  • Panini: Use as a spread for sandwiches.
  • Pasta: Toss with pasta, vegetables, etc. I made one with whole wheat pasta, broccoli, asparagus, pesto, and parmesan.

Mmm... tastes like spring!


Linking Up With:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou


3 Responses to “Homemade Pesto”

  1. Rose :: Fine Craft Guild April 3, 2013 at 3:47 am #

    Actually, you might just needed more basil leaves. I have made my own pesto before also and was astonished at just how much basil was needed to give it that full-full flavor. So, how about having a COUPLE of plants on the balcony and then a note in the kitchen to remind you to water them. That’ might work?!! Meanwhile: Thank you for linking up your recipe! Can’t wait to see what other fun idea you’ll be sharing with us again this week!

    • Alyson April 3, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Thanks, Rose! That’s a great point. I probably need to really pack in the basil. Now that spring is finally here, I might go plant shopping soon!


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