One of the herbs I love growing most is basil. It’s quick growing, easy to take care of, and grows plentiful. I think it’s also one of the most flavorful herbs you can grow fresh. Compared to its dry, store-bought counterpart, homegrown basil makes a world of difference.
But what to do when you have too much basil and it’s starting to seed? Never fear! Pesto is a quick and easy way to take care of too much basil. (Is there really such a thing?) Like basil itself, homemade pesto with fresh basil tastes a world of difference better than its jar companions. Better yet, pesto its super easy to make, especially if you have a blender. If you don’t it’s still possible; you can use any type of food processor, or you can do it by hand like it was a originally done with a mortar and pestle.
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- A dash of lemon juice (~1 tsp.)
- Dash or two of paprika to taste
Roast the pine nuts and garlic in a pan with a dash of oil until nuts start to brown or until your satisfied with them. Pick about 2 cups of basil leaves… “But!” you might say… “What kind of basil?!”. Ah that is a good question, the ‘normal’ pesto kind of basil is what’s commonly referred to as sweet basil or Genovese basil. However, at this particular time I also had some Thai basil that needed picking as well so I picked about 2 cups worth of sweet basil and threw in some Thai basil as well. Feel free to mix and match your types of basil for an extra kick or interesting flavor combination.
Put the basil, olive oil, roasted pine nuts and garlic, lemon juice, and spices in a blender and blend until smooth or the consistency that you desire. This makes enough to cover one 16 oz. box of pasta. We also like to add chicken to ours for a fresh, easy, and quick dinner! Use pesto immediately or freeze for up to 3 months. You can also blend in some Parmesan or other type of cheese, as well as sprinkle it on top. My husband is lactose intolerant, so I leave out the cheese when mixing the pesto and add it to my bowl afterwards. Bon Appetit!