Fresh basil is incredibly easy to keep on hand year round if you have a sunny window. You can purchase pots of living basil at most grocery stores for under five dollars and if you keep them watered and place them in a sunny location, they will live for months. Occasionally I will have to replace my plants once during the year—mid-winter during the shortest days of the year—but even that is inexpensive. Compared with the price of purchasing fresh cut basil, it’s a no brainer to me to keep living basil growing all year round. (learn more about basil with this Basil Fact Sheet.)
Keeping fresh basil on hand makes homemade pesto easy. Basil is the basis for pesto, and using fresh basil that you have just cut from the stem makes your pesto incredibly flavorful. This recipe for homemade pesto calls for 2 cups of basil, so even if you aren’t growing basil you should be able to get that much from a single potted plant from the produce section of the grocery store. The pesto can be make in the time it takes for the pasta to boil, so this is really a quick stovetop meal.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed, stems removed, and packed into cup
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp pine nuts
- 3 tsp garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (1 lb.) pkg. pasta, cooked and kept warm
Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, place basil leaves in small batches into a food processor and process until well chopped. Add about 1/3 of the nuts and garlic and blend again. Add about 1/3 of the cheese and blend slowly while adding about 1/3 of the olive oil. Stop to scrape food processor contents down the sides of container towards the bottom. Process until a smooth thick paste is formed. Repeat process until all ingredients are used. Serve over pasta with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
Pesto freezes well, so if you would like to make this in bulk, you can freeze the extra pesto for later use.
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: pesto, homemade pesto, pasta with pesto