Unfortunately, I wasted most of my life not eating pesto and I only started eating it in the last couple of years. So, now I am trying to make up for all of the lost time. The sad part is that I don’t think I really have a reason for not eating it besides I never really tried it. I grew up as a very very picky eater and have since evolved to try so many new things, but I will admit to still having some picky-eater tendencies. Regardless, I am extremely happy I have discovered pesto.
For the last couple of years my Nana would use the last of her basil at the end of the summer and make ridiculous amounts of pesto and we would freeze it in individual little zip lock bags. I’m talking enough to make it through the winter for multiple family members. The Italians don’t do anything in small batches! This year, I finally decided to grow my own basil on our patio, and was rather successful, as it is the perfect ingredient to so many summer recipes.
This pesto is super easy and quick to make and it is fairly healthy too.
Adapted from my Nana
Makes about 1 cup, serves 2-4
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed
- ¼ cup pignoli (pine nuts)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1/8 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
- About 1/3 cup olive oil, add more if needed
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
**I am not a huge fan of cheese so I skip it in my recipe, but feel free to add ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese if you like or just sprinkle it on top of your pasta
Combine the basil, pignoli, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor (a blender will also work if you don’t have a food processor). Pulse until finely chopped. With the food processor on, slowly add the olive oil. It should have a smooth, thick consistency. Add in the red pepper flakes and pulse until it is mixed in. If you choose to add cheese, stir in the cheese as the final step.
Now that you have the pesto made you can enjoy it on a nice dish of pasta, on a homemade pizza, or as a spread on sandwich. As I mentioned before, pesto can be refrigerated or frozen for later use so don’t waste it!