Nothing is better than the aromatic smell of fresh cut basil. I’d rather receive a bouquet of fresh basil than a bouquet of flowers. You can’t eat flowers (well some you can). The smell is amazing and everyone that enters my home talks about and loves that fresh scent.
Did you know that basil is used medicinally? It’s usually made into a tea by pouring boiling water over the fresh leaves. A cup of this tea acts as a sedative and cures nausea and stomach cramps. It also relieves constipation and aids in digestion. Rubbed on a sting or bite, basil reduces inflammation and pain and stops the itch.
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts, optional
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Himalayan salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Pecorino cheese or parmesan
**Pesto is best served at room temp.
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. Slowly add Extra virgin Olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with Himalayan salt and pepper.
Basil pesto tastes just as delicious without pine nuts so if you have a nut allergy or are on a budget then skip the nuts altogether, pine nuts are expensive!!! If you have any almonds or cashews on hand then go ahead and use them instead.
If you are not planning to use right away, use only 1/2 cup of oil in blender, transfer to an air tight container and drizzle remaining olive oil over the top. You can freeze this pesto for up to 3 months.
To use frozen pesto, thaw in refrigerator and stir in cheese before serving.
You do not need to heat your pesto if tossing it into your pasta since the pasta will sufficiently warm the pesto and release its bouquet. Add your pesto at room temp and toss.
If you have enough to experiment with try using a tablespoon (or two) three different ways to find what your preference is: Cold from the refrigerator, room temperature, and slightly warmed. Many prefer their pesto warm but I find that the pesto is slightly bitter when heated.
She’s Crafty: Take out an ice cube tray and spray with a little olive oil or lightly cover with olive oil. Pour in your pesto and freeze. When ready to use, just pop out your cube and voila!
There are so many delicious ways to incorporate your basil pesto, of course over pasta, in the center of a rolled flank steak, place on top of chicken then cover with a blanket of fresh mozz and place all in a foil pack and put on the grill, smeared on Italian bread and served with dinner…. Oh the things you could do 😋
For more ways to use your pesto check out the Food Networks 50 Things to Make with Pesto