How glorious is summer? I know I keep repeating myself, but I truly adore summer. Summer brings new experiences, beautiful days, fresh produce, and fresh herbs! My most favorite herb of all, hands down, is basil! It’s absolutely gorgeous and it has the most amazing aroma. Peppery, minty, lemony…just delicious. It’s such a versatile herb, but my favorite dish to make using basil is pesto, of course!
One of my favorite cuisines has always been Italian dishes. I’m ashamed to admit that I never tried pesto until I reached adulthood. I always went for the marinara based dishes and never knew what I was missing. When I finally tried pesto at a local Italian restaurant, it was love at first bite. My entire family loved it and I was on a mission to recreate pesto at home.
Now, I grow basil at home every summer. It’s makes so much more sense to grow your own, because it’s much cheaper than buying it at the store. I don’t have a green thumb (you can ask my mom), but basil is almost foolproof to grow! I just have to remember to water it. It grows abundantly because I am constantly cutting it back to use in my kitchen. The more you cut basil, the fuller it grows! It’s perfect! My family and I are able to enjoy pesto all summer long.
When preparing to make pesto, be sure to roast the pine nuts first. Keep a close eye on them to avoid burning. Set the pine nuts aside to cool for a few minutes. I must admit: pine nuts are expensive! If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they sell a large bag at a more reasonable price than the other grocery stores. (I know some recipes say that you can use walnuts instead of pine nuts when making pesto. I have tried using walnuts, but my family and I were not pleased with the results. Pine nuts produce a nutty flavor in pesto that cannot be substituted, in my opinion.)
Seriously, pesto is one of the easiest and most delicious dishes to prepare at home. It’s so much better than buying it in the stores!
Isn’t this pesto simply beautiful? It looks like nature! I would love to hear your thoughts! Please sound off in the comments!
The Best Simple Pesto
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 cups basil leaves (no stems)
1/3 cup pine nuts, roasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp garlic salt
Dash of pepper
- Roast the pine nuts in a skillet on medium heat until they are golden brown in color.
- Using a high powered blender (such as Blendtec or Vitamix)-Place the ingredients in the exact order as listed in the ingredients-extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves, basil, roasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and pepper.
- Pulse the ingredients until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. (I don’t like to have large chunks but I don’t want a smoothie consistency, either. Sometimes I use the ice cream function button on my Blendtec.)
- If using a food processor-Pulse together the basil, garlic cloves, and pine nuts until chopped. Add the olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper. Pulse until smooth. You have two options for the Parmesan cheese. Add it to the food processor and pulse a few times, or mix in the cheese until combined.
- You have pesto! Enjoy!
- How to enjoy your pesto: Mixed with your favorite pasta noodle, drizzled over chicken, shrimp, steak, or use as a dip for crusty bread.
Yields approximately 18 servings, 1 serving=1 tbsp pesto
Nutritional information per serving:
81 calories, 8.4 g fat, 2.2 mg cholesterol, 1.5 g protein, 0.6 g carbs, 0.2 g fiber