Homemade Basil Pesto – Homemade pesto is one of the best ways to enjoy a bounty of fresh basil. It’s great on pasta, baked potatoes, pizza, or bread. Make it in just 15 minutes!
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
Pulse the basil and pine nuts:
Place the basil leaves and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times.
Add the garlic and cheese:
Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
Slowly pour in the olive oil:
While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly while the processor is running will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally, stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.
Season the pesto sauce:
Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Toss with pasta for a quick sauce, dollop over baked potatoes, or spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread.
Basil pesto darkens when exposed to air. To store, cover tightly with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic is touching the top of the pesto and not allowing the pesto to have contact with air. The pesto sauce will stay greener longer that way.