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Pesto Sauce
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Every summer we make a project of producing enough pesto sauce to last us through the coming winter.  First we make a trip to the Farmer's Market where we buy the best cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic at great prices.  Then we take advantage of our friend Mike's garden which is planted abundantly with sweet basil as well as other varieties, and we have a pesto-making party!  

1 cup extra virgin olive oil (Can add a little more if necessary)
4 cloves garlic (Can add a more if you want)
cup pine nuts (pinon) - Toasted brown briefly in skillet (no oil) till golden
Approximately 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (packed) - (Variety of your choice -- opal, green, cinnamon, etc., or mixture of several varieties works fine.)  Wash and remove major stems (not necessary to remove all) I put them in the salad spinner to get rid of excess water
1 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, finely grated - Use the real stuff no processed stuff allowed!
 

Put oil first into blender; add garlic and pine nuts and blend till smooth.  Add basil leaves in 2-3 batches, blending each batch thoroughly.  Add grated cheese and continue to blend until smooth.

We freeze this in ice cube trays, then pop out and store in Ziploc bags till ready to use.  To use, take out to thaw about an hour before using, or else thaw in the microwave (be careful usually 30-60 seconds is enough).  You may want to add a little more olive oil to the pesto.

  • Use Pesto Sauce on top of cooked pasta, garnish with toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, serve with a nice French bread and white wine!

  • Also makes a good spread on halved French bread; put under the broiler and sprinkle with a little more grated Parmesan/Romano.

  • Make pizza with chicken, pesto and pine nuts with Monterey Jack cheese.

For a different twist on the usual pesto sauce, try our recipe for Green Chile Pesto.