Fresh Basil Pesto

If you read my previous post on Homemade Tomato Sauce and Meatballs, I mentioned that I wasn’t always a fan of basil.  I’m not sure if I acquired a taste for it, or I had tried it in another dish and became addicted.  Either way, basil is now my second favorite herb, next to coriander.

I’ve always wanted to make homemade pesto, but I could never find basil in bulk.  Most supermarkets sell a small package for $1.99, but I needed tons of basil!

I received a basil plant from a good friend of mine, even after I told her the poor plant wouldn’t last.  I do not have a green thumb!  I took care of the plant as best as I could, but it succumbed. So sad …

I happened upon a huge bunch of basil while shopping at St. Lawrence Market and could not believe my eyes!  I’ve never seen such a large amount for only $1.99!  I quickly grabbed 2 packages and booted it to the nearest Costco to buy a bag of (very pricey) pine nuts!

Now, what to do with all this pesto?  I read that it’s preferable to freeze pesto without the cheese, but I thought, that doesn’t make sense to me, I want it ready to go!  I also read that there wasn’t much difference in taste, so I decided to just freeze it with the cheese.

You can freeze pesto in ice-cube trays, but we love our pesto in large amounts, so I came up with an even better idea!  I used grease-proof cupcake liners with a muffin tin and scooped the pesto with an ice cream scooper.  I froze the batch for 1 hour, and then stored them in Ziploc freezer bags!  Brilliant (just saying)!

You can do so much with pesto (other than pasta).  It tastes great on top of a steak, in sandwiches, on pizza, chicken, fish, baked potatoes, etc.  We even like to make a very quick salad with cherry tomatoes mixed with a bit of pesto.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Adapted from
Makes 1 cup


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, combine the basil and pine nuts, pulse a few times
  2. Add the garlic and cheese and pulse a few times more
  3. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on
  4. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula
  5. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Kitchen note

  • I like to toast the pine nuts lightly.  Let them cool before using

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