We love making pesto with our extra basil. It is such a beautiful herb and so easy to grow. We tuck it into our patio pots for convenient harvesting, pruning just above side branching stems to keep the plant looking attractive. Bunches of basil, as well as other herbs, make beautiful kitchen bouquets. When those bumper crops come along, we love to make pesto. Homemade pesto has fresh color and flavor you just can’t find in the premade versions at the store. For a quick and easy vegetarian meal, toss with pasta and top with toasted pine nuts. It is delicious on paninis and is a fantastic substitute for marinara on Mediterranean-style pizzas.
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
||Divide cheese into 5-6 pieces; pulse in a food processor until fine. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.||Prepping now frees the food processor for the next step.|
||In the now-empty food processor, layer all in the order listed. Before adding the basil, rinse and transfer to a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.||Placing the garlic, nuts, and salt near the blades helps move basil around in the blending step. Dried basil can never be used for pesto because it produces an inedible texture.|
||Pour over basil. Pulse all together just until pine nuts are finely chopped but still visible. Scrape down bowl sides 2-3 times during the process; transfer to a 1-quart bowl.||Lemon juice helps basil retain its vibrant green color. Extra-virgin olive oil adds a fresh layer of flavor. Any setting other than “pulse” lack control and can easily over chop the mixture.|
||If not yet softened, warm on medium power on a microwave-safe plate. Use a silicone spatula to fold butter/cheese into basil mixture.||Mixing manually with a flexible spatula preserves texture.|
Additional Testing Notes: Parmesan is the American version of Italian Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It is not made the same or aged as long.