Garden Fresh Recipes - Pesto

My basil crop was nearing the end of it's life, and sadly, this year was not my best year for basil.  The tomato plants grew to be so large that they basically knocked the basil plants over.  They didn't completely die, but the back sides of them received literally zero sunlight and so only the fronts and tops of the plants really did well. Even then, it just wasn't their year.  I bought a basil plant for my mom and aunt to share, and when I saw my aunt's plant back in July, it looked way better than mine ever did.

Regardless, I was ready to start pulling things out of the garden, so I yanked two entire plants and pulled off any usable leaves to make pesto.  I borrowed my sister's combination food processor and blender and it worked great.  I have already told her that I would like one for Christmas.  Sister - please don't forget.

So without further ado, my pesto recipe.

Basil Pesto

1/2 pine nuts or walnuts
3 cloves of garlic (or, a healthy couple of shakes of garlic powder)
4 cups of loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 to 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (start with 1/2, add more if needed)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Add all of the above ingredients into your food processor, in the order listed above.  When adding the olive oil, pour it over all of the basil leaves.

Once everything has been added it should look like this:

Then, turn on the food processor and process the living s#&! out of it.  That's the best way to describe it.  You'll know when it's right.

It'll look something like this

If necessary, stop halfway through and use a spatula to scrape things off of the side.  Also, this would be the time to add more olive oil if it's too pasty.


If you're not going to use it right away, put it in tiny containers (there are some really cute Gladware condiment sized things that are the perfect size), then into a plastic freezer bag, and freeze it.  It will stay good for at least a year, maybe even more if it doesn't freezer burn.

We often eat this with pasta, but I have found that my favorite way to enjoy pesto is on a thick slice of Italian bread, warmed in the oven, covered in pesto and then topped off with a little garlic salt.  Yuuumm....

My final two cents: 
Pesto is really flexible.  The recipe above just happens to be what I use, but if you don't have garlic, skip it. If you don't like Parmesan cheese, skip it.  If you like more olive oil, add more!  Seriously, all of you really need for pesto is EVOO and basil.  A lot of recipes that I've seen use parsley to brighten up the green color without really affecting flavor, but I'm OK with it looking a little brown as long as it tastes good!


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