This basil pesto recipe is so fast and easy that you can make it in less than 1 minute once you assemble the ingredients.
And it's so good that it'll become your new "staple."
So many Boston restaurants use pesto as a major component in their menus that I've started doing the same thing.
It's the perfect seasoning or sauce for fish, pasta, and chicken - in fact, it's a key ingredient in my favorite marinara sauce recipe.
Best of all, it freezes well . . . so if you plan ahead in late summer when fresh basil is cheap and plentiful in Haymarket and farmers' markets around Boston, you'll have a supply all winter to flavor soups.
Prep time: 5 minutes - Mixing time: 1 minute - Makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of pesto
1. Prep ingredients - Assemble and prepare all of the ingredients.
Wash the basil very well, dry it, and pinch or cut off the stems, so that you have just leaves. Cut the cheese into small (1/2 inch square) chunks. Cut each garlic clove into several pieces.
2. Chop - Put the basil, cheese, garlic, and nuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 15-20 times, so that all ingredients are fairly well chopped, but not pureed.
Scrape down the side of the food processor's bowl with a spatula if necessary.
3. Add oil - Put the top back on the food processor, and with the motor running, pour in the olive oil. If I'm going to use the pesto as a sauce for fish or chicken or for dipping with olive bread, I use about 3/4 of a cup. If I'm going to add it to another sauce, such as my marinara sauce recipe, I keep the pesto thicker by adding only about 1/2 of a cup of olive oil. But I must confess . . . I never actually measure it . . . I just guess.
4. Season - Once all the olive oil is poured in, stop the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula again.
Taste the pesto. If the balance of flavors isn't quite what you want, add a few more nuts, chunks of cheese, or whatever it needs. You can also add a pinch of salt at this point if you want.
Turn on the motor again for one more quick blend . . and that's it. It's ready to use!
Fortunately, this basil pesto recipe makes a larger amount than you'll probably use all at once.
I always freeze the leftover pesto in one or more small plastic containers (a plastic ice cube tray would be ideal, but I don't have one).
Once the pesto is frozen hard, I pop it out of the containers and put the frozen chunks into a plastic bag that I keep in the freezer.
That way, I can use the small portions whenever needed. It's my "secret" ingredient in soups all winter.
Pesto freezes well. I once found some at the back of the freezer that had been there for over a year and to my surprise, it was still very fine and tasty - although I don't recommend intentionally keeping it for this long.
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