Our basil plants are taking off and I am happily overwhelmed with the amount of basil ready to harvest every day. As we’ve mentioned before, basil was our “gateway drug” to gardening and still one of my favorites. The smell, the look, the taste…ahh. It reminds me of summer like almost nothing else.
In order to use our abundant harvest we’ve been putting basil in salads, on eggs, over pasta, in just about any dish. While you can preserve basil by drying it or freezing it in oil or butter in ice cube trays (both of which I’m sure we’ll do at some point this summer), one of my favorite ways to savor the flavor of basil later in the year is by making pesto. I’ll make a big batch in order to use some now and freeze the remainder for later. The fresh batch never lasts long in our fridge!
Easy Basil Pesto
Pesto is a simple way to use up your abundant basil harvest while boosting flavors in your cooking. It's simple to make fresh and can be customized based on the ingredients you have available.
- 4 cups Basil leaves, tightly packed Remove stem and flowers
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup Pine nuts or walnuts
- 1/2 tsp Lemon zest
- 1 dash Cayenne pepper
- 1 cup Olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
In a food processor combine the basil, garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, nuts, lemon zest, and cayenne pepper. Begin blending it on high speed while drizzling in the olive oil. I use 1 cup as a starting place, but you can adjust as it blends based on the consistency you're looking for.
Taste the pesto and season with a small pinch of sea salt if necessary. Sometimes the cheese has enough saltiness that you don't need to anything.
If you want to freeze pesto for later, simply fill ice cube trays or these handy BPA-free silicone molds and place in the freezer for about an hour. Once they are frozen, pop them out of the container and put them in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.