Talk pesto to me, baby. There are a few things that I always keep on hand, which I will cover in this ‘basics’ series. Pesto is one of them. You can put it on toast with eggs, add to pasta, eat with fresh bread or tomatoes, add it to a salad or quinoa bowl, toss it on roasted vegetables or poultry, use it as a pizza base–SO MANY OPTIONS! Make a large batch and it lasts a few weeks. It’s such a quick and easy way to add flavor to things you already eat.
— basil (one large clamshell container or three smaller containers)
— 1/4 cup pine nuts
— 1/2 cup evoo
— 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated
— 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
— salt & pepper, to taste
**equipment needed: food processor (optional but highly recommended), mason jar
- Are you ready for this? Throw everything in the food processor (literally don’t cut a thing) and puree until smoothish. Taste and season as necessary.
A few notes:
- You can make this by hand but it involves a lot of chopping. Still worth it.
- The garlic will taste a little sharp at first, give it time to sit and mellow out.
- I like to roast my garlic in a pan with the evoo until browned for extra flavor. You can also roast the pine nuts in there as well.
- Go nuts! You can substitute the pine nuts for pecans or walnuts or cashews. Just make sure they’re not already salted or else you end up with a very salty pesto!
- Keep in mind that parmesan is very salty on its own when adding seasoning.
- Throw the whole basil in there, don’t pick off the leaves. Eat them stems!
- Add sundried tomatoes for a twist. Or jalapeno for a spicy kick.
- Add more or less evoo for desired consistency. I prefer to leave mine more chunky since I use it primarily as a spread versus a sauce. That way I can add more evoo if I do use it as a sauce. You can always add more oil but you can’t take it away so I err on the side of chunky.
Same as with the vegetable stock, yes, you can buy pesto. But again, this has no preservatives, and you can control the sodium and quality of each ingredient.