Basic Basil Pesto

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At the risk of jinxing things, I have to say that our garden is really doing well this year. We have tons of tomatoes that will be ready for picking next week. The herbs are going crazy. The Italian parsley and the dill are about three feet tall with lots of leaves, the oregano and sage are threatening to take over, and the basil is getting taller and bushier. If I can just keep the june bugs from devouring all of those tasty basil leaves, then we’ll have a bumper crop this year.

Michael and I grow lots of basil each year. Throughout the summer we cut the leaves and use them in pesto, other pasta sauces, or as a layer in lasagna. Even with frequent use, we often have many plants left over at the end of the season. So we cut them all down and spend an afternoon making pesto and freezing it. You can freeze small blocks of it in ice cube trays, then put the blocks into freezer bags. We find those very convenient in the wintertime for making sauces or just thawing a few to toss with linguine.

[Updated October 3, 2010.]

Basic Basil Pesto
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 3/4 cup
  • 1 cup (45 g) fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. In a food processor, finely chop basil, garlic, and nuts together. Slowly add oil. Gradually add cheese until blended. Toss mixture into hot pasta and serve immediately.
More Information

food processor

Recipe Notes:

We sometimes leave out the pine nuts and sprinkle them fresh on top of the pasta.


Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

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  1. says

    We’ve frozen pesto for about five years now, and it works well for us. We’ve done both the ice cube tray method and the 6-8 ounce yogurt cup method (cover the surface of the pesto with plastic wrap before adding the lid and freezing). In the wintertime we’ll thaw a cube of pesto and throw it in a pot of tomato sauce, and it adds a really nice flavor.

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