Saturday, September 8, 2012


We love the local farmers' market.  Even though The Olive and Yellow Ones have been nurturing tomatoes, squash, and herbs all summer, sometimes you need more of one thing than the garden can provide at once.  This weekend one of the deals I spotted at the market was on basil.  This huge bag of basil for only $4.  I decided it was time to make another huge batch of basil pesto and to share the recipe with you.

Pesto is one of those things you have to make partially by site, as the amount of liquid in the basil can vary.  Here is my general recipe.  I also adjust depending on how much basil I have available.

You will need:

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (see instructions below)
2 cups fresh basil leaves (pack it down into the measuring cup)
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
Pinch of salt and pepper 

Start by toasting the pine nuts.  Place a non-stick pan on the stove top and pour pine nuts in.  Toast on a medium-low level. Stir nuts frequently.  Keep a sharp eye and nose on the pine nuts.  Due to their oil content they can go from nicely toasted to burnt to a crisp in no time flat.  As soon as the nuts reach toasty goodness, remove from heat and set aside to cool down.  If you burn them, throw them away and start again.



In a food processor or blender, place basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt and pepper.  Pour about half of the olive oil in and pulse, making sure all of the basil leaves and pieces of garlic are being processed.  Keep blending and add enough olive oil to make the mixture the consistency of a thick, oily paste.  The amount of oil needed can vary, but I typically try to add the least amount needed.

If you are making a large batch like I did, you will need to add the leaves in batches.  Get all of the other ingredients in with the first batch (minus half of the olive oil) to insure they are properly processed.  Add the remaining basil in small batches, adding oil as needed.

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.  It will keep well for about 3-4 weeks. You can also freeze the pesto sauce.  There will be some browning of the top layer either way.  This will not affect the taste of the pesto, but place a piece of clingfilm directly on top of the pesto to prevent air from getting to it if you are concerned.  

Enjoy in your favorite pasta dish or try it on some fish or chicken.  Click here for a favorite quick pasta dish.

-  The Pink One

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