Three Minute Basil Pesto, From Scratch!

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

The old adage says, “when life hands you too much basil, add lemon and make pesto.” Or maybe not, but that’s what I do when I’ve got lots of basil. I’m not sure if this is a true pesto, but it is a Crafty Fork version I whipped up in the blender in three minutes and it is equally delicious and versatile.
Basil is one of my favorite herbs. I like to try to use it the day I buy it. When I bring it home, I trim the ends of stems and stick it in a glass of water like flowers in a vase. Tent with a plastic bag and refrigerate to keep (use the plastic! The gases from other fruits and veggies can make basil go bad, and fast). When I’m ready to use the herb, I soak the basil leaves in water with a cap full of white vinegar for 2 minutes or so, then drain and give it a few twirls in the salad spinner. Often I tear the leaves and use it as a fresh pizza topping, or even throw a few torn leaves into a regular green salad to jazz it up.
It is impossible for me to use an entire bunch of basil without having to freeze some of it. It just turns so fast!  I received a giant bundle of organic basil from my CSA this Wednesday, but haven’t had the time to cook anything until today (Sunday). It was starting to get a bit wilty so the thought hit me: pesto! I could puree in the blender and get some major use out of it right away. I’m using half the batch on a whole wheat flax pizza crust with fresh tomatoes and artichoke hearts this evening, and the other half I’ll freeze in my covered ice cube try (from back in the day when I was making baby food) and use as I want.

Three Minute Fresh Basil Pesto

1 large bunch fresh basil, washed, dried, and torn
2 or 3 large garlic cloves, diced
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (aka Parmesan cheese)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place basil, garlic, pine nuts, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil in the blender. Blend (chop, puree, whatever) on a medium-style setting, while drizzling the rest of the olive oil through the lid, approximately 45 seconds.

Remove lid and add “dry ingredients” (cheese, salt, pepper) and then lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

Add more olive oil and pulse to combine if you want a runnier sauce, or leave as is. I like to leave the pesto on the thick side, then thin with additional olive oil in cooking as called for by the individual recipes.

Happy nibbling

More from The Crafty Fork

roasted garlic with olive oil and sea salt

Butter-soft Roasted Garlic

closeup of pan roasted brussels sprouts with shallots, garlic, and white wine

Garlic Brussels Sprouts with Shallots


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