April 15, 2013

How to Make Pesto (and Ten Tasty Ways to Use it!)


Homemade Pesto is so easy and delicious and versatile.  You can change up the ingredients and amounts to suit your taste and it brings a fresh summer-y taste to almost any dish.

Start by toasting:
  • 1/4 cup of slivered almonds or pine nuts (traditionally pesto uses pine nuts, but we prefer it with almonds)
*to toast nuts, just put them in a pot or pan over medium high heat, giving them a little shake or stir every 20 seconds or so, until they become fragrant and golden in spots. 

In a food processor, combine:
  • 1-2 cups of fresh basil leaves.  
  • 3 cloves of garlic (if you aren't a mega lover of garlic, use less!)
  • your 1/4 cup of toasted nuts
  • A large pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Process until everything is chopped, scraping down the sides of the food processor bowl as necessary and taking special care to make sure that there are no large chunks of garlic.

Add:
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
Process until combined.

That's it!  If you want a thinner texture you can blend in some warm water too.


10 Ways to Enjoy your fresh homemade Pesto:

1) As sauce on BBQ pizza (oh my goodness it is good)
2) Mix with chopped cooked chicken and diced bell peppers for a yummy pesto chicken salad.  Serve in homemade pita pockets.
3) Mix with pureed cooked white beans to make an awesome dip for corn chips!
4) Add a spoonful while beating eggs with milk to make delicious scrambled eggs.
5) Spread on corn on the cob.
6) Serve a spoonful on top of grilled meats.
7) Spread on subs or sandwiches.
8) Stir into homemade soups.
9)  Coat raw baby spinach with it for a simple yummy side dish.
10) On Pasta, silly!

A note about freezing Pesto: Here is the way you are supposed to do it:  Omit the Parmesan.  Put the pesto in a container with a thin layer of oil on top to keep it fresh and freeze.  Add cheese before serving.  How I do it:  Just freeze it in small zip top bags. Parmesan and all. Easy Peasy.


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9 comments:

  1. Kelly, great tutorial - we adore pesto in this house! Our favorite is on pizza too, topped with halved grape tomatoes and shredded mozz and parm. Yum! -Kelly @ Semi Homemade Mom

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  2. Kelly...have been wanting to try pesto lately. Was just looking at jars of it in grocery today. You read my mind!!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! Seems very simple and looks delish!

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  4. We use a lot of store bought pesto in our house thanks for the tutorial!

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  5. If I may...I'm Italian :) like really Italian born in Italy and still in Italy :)
    no butter in pesto please...! and I don't know if you can find it but the right cheese to use is Pecorino and not Parmigiano.

    love your blog!

    :

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  6. You should also try other combinations, such as dried tomatos, parsley or wild garlic with sunflower or pumpkin seeds... I just love pesto!

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  7. I found a recipe for pesto covered pork chops that you sear and cook in a skillet - delicious!

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  8. Thanks for the list of ways to use pesto. Every so often we a buy a jar for something different on pasta, but then we're like, 'now what?'. So this has given me some more ideas!

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  9. Kelly, Okay I'm going to try it with the almonds, my family eats mixed nuts and they always seem to leave the almonds lol. And corn-dogs..never thought of that one.I had trouble with my pesto turning a brownish color when I would freeze it for to long. Lucinda suggested that you blanch the basil or wilt it before you start and it works beautiful. Now I can save it for weeks in the freezer and it's as fresh and green as when I first made it. I'm the gralic lover in my family, so I freeze it in little cubes using my old ice trays that I saved for freezing milk when I find I have to much to use before the expo date.
    Love you blog.. keep those great idea's coming ... Key:)

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