If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen my backyard pride and joy, my little garden. One of the first springs in our home I had my dad and husband build me this big, beautiful redwood garden box. It has been a couple of years of figuring out what grows good and what doesn’t. Tomatoes, zucchini and pesto thrive during the hot California summer months.
Well, this year by spry little basil plants turned into full on basil bushes in a matter of a couple of weeks. They were thick, tall, and bushy and I knew they had to be harvested before they went to flower and became bitter and tough. Homemade pesto coming right up!
While I absolutely love store bought pesto nothing beats the freshness of making your own. It can be a little pricey with the cost of pine nuts, quality parmesan, and extra virgin olive oil but it is absolutely worth it! Plus, it is so easy to make. Load all the ingredients in the blender, and blend!
With how much basil I harvested I actually made a massive batch but you certainly don’t need to make that much at a time unless you are sitting on a big basil harvest yourself. The recipe below is written for a single batch.
One thing that is really great about pesto is that it freezes great! I proportion it out into larger containers for pasta dinners and then smaller containers that work great for pizza sauce like when I make my Shrimp Pesto Pizza.
What makes my pesto unique is I like to add some fresh lemon juice to the mix. I find it helps serve as a natural preservative, gives it a great flavor, and also helps to keep the vibrant green color.
2 c basil leaves, packed
3/4 c parmesan cheese, shredded
1 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
juice from one lemon
1/2 tsp salt
- Combine all the ingredients in the blender and blend string periodically if needed.
- Add additional olive oil if you need more liquid to blend.