Basil Pesto is made with toasted pine nuts, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil in two minutes, perfect for using up summer basil.
Pesto is made with olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese with lots of fresh basil. Pesto is such an easy “recipe” it almost doesn’t even qualify as one. You could even eyeball the ingredients until it looks like it works and add a bit of extra olive oil along with any other ingredients like meat or chicken or pasta.
When using pesto with pasta, it’s really important that you don’t rinse your pasta before adding the pesto to it. The added water to the pasta would not mix with the olive oil in the pesto. Top the pasta with additional Parmesan and even additional toasted pine nuts before serving.
One of the most flavorful pasta mix-ins with pesto is Roasted Garlic Tomatoes. Add in some fresh mozzarella too and you’ve got a great dinner or served cold a great pasta salad!
How to Use Homemade Basil Pesto
- Add to pizza instead of Marinara Sauce or even just drizzle on top of classic pizza recipes.
- Add to cream cheese or ricotta cheese as a dip.
- Use as a spread on your favorite sandwiches.
- Add to an omelette or even top your Eggs Benedict with pesto instead of hollandaise.
- Add to roasted vegetables or any of your favorite grilled meats.
- Add to bread as a dipping sauce or instead of butter.
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Pesto with Walnuts
Some people have allergies or aversions to pine nuts that are toasted and used in a classic pesto recipe. If you’d prefer to use walnuts just swap out the pine nuts for an equal amount of walnuts.
You can also toast the walnuts before adding them to a recipe which doesn’t take long at all. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes then let cool before adding to the pesto mixture (otherwise you will melt the parmesan cheese and wilt the basil).
How to Store Basil Pesto
- Serve: Refrigerate pesto at room temperature after 2 hours.
- Store: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freeze: Add the pesto with a bit more olive oil over it in a silicone ice cube tray or in a large ziploc bag and make sure to squeeze out all the air before closing the bag and freezing. When ready to cook just defrost fully before using. Try not to cook pesto for too long as the flavor is in the freshness.
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3 cups fresh basil , packed tightly
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Add the pine nuts to a small pan on medium heat and let toast until you can just smell the pine nuts.
- Add all the ingredients to a small food processor until smooth.
Photos used in a previous version of this post.