Homemade Basil Pesto
Prep: 15 minutes
Summer in full swing means the sweet scent of basil in kitchen gardens, farmers' markets and at Morningside Urban Farm—where it's one of the many good things grown by Carilion Clinic's Community Health and Outreach team (and one of our favorites).
Basil has antioxidant properties, and just two tablespoons of chopped basil provides almost 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K.
And if you're looking for fresh basil recipe ideas, we suggest starting with homemade pesto!
The recipe below, from Angela Charleton, R.D.-N., is a traditional genovese-style pesto. It makes a delicious starting point—but feel free to play around with it until you find your own pesto preferences!
For example, you can use walnuts or sunflower seeds in place of the pine nuts.
Prefer a brighter-tasting pesto? Just add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Pressed for time? You don't have to toast the pine nuts (although doing so does significantly increase the flavor).
And, a final tip: You may not end up using the full amount of olive oil called for in this recipe. Add the oil slowly until the pesto reaches the consistency that you prefer — you can make it as thick or as thin as you like.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried with stems removed
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Put pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat.
- Toast until golden brown, about three minutes, stirring or shaking the pan frequently to toast evenly. (Do not leave unattended.)
- Allow pine nuts to cool completely.
- Combine basil, pine nuts and garlic in food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
- Slowly drizzle in olive oil, while continuing to process, until desired thickness is reached.
- Add parmesan cheese and process just long enough to incorporate cheese without overmixing.
- Serve and enjoy!