How to Make Pesto!

Learn How to Make Pesto in a few easy steps with the help of your food processor! All you need are basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper. These simple ingredients make the ultimate pesto recipe for pasta, meat, veggies, or one of my favorites, summertime vegetable & pasta skewers!

Pesto sauce in the bowl of a food processor with a spatula

My summer garden is officially popping!!! And I cannot tell you how much garden fresh basil I have growing in my backyard. There’s so much, I just don’t know what to do with it. Until todayyy!!! There is something about a classic pesto sauce recipe that makes me feel all giddy inside. It’s so bright and beautiful and delicious.

I know there are so many different variations and versions on how to make pesto sauce, but I really wanted to stick with a classic. The Genovese pesto. Five simple ingredients – basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.

Plus, Jared and I can’t seem to get enough of these Garden Pesto Grilled Cheese sandwiches this summer, so I thought it was necessary to make a giant batch of pesto and keep it stored in the fridge, or even better, the freezer!

How to make Pesto ingredients in the bowl of a food processor

But I have to tell you, my favorite way to enjoy a homemade pesto sauce is to use it as a dip or sauce for summertime vegetable and pasta skewers. I just love anything on a skewer this time of year! Food on a skewer is portable, hand-held, easy to eat, and just so adorable. Plus, it makes me feel so Martha Stewart. Simple and classy. And that’s exactly what this how to make pesto recipe is all about.

How to make Pesto ingredients in bowls on a wooden board

Basil Pesto Ingredients

Ok, so first things first, you need to know what goes into a classic pesto recipe.

  • Fresh Basil Leaves: It grows beautifully in the spring and summer months, so if you can, I say grow it yourself! The best way to measure fresh basil leaves is to remove the tender leaves from the thick stems and lightly pack the leaves into a measuring cup.
  • Fresh Whole Garlic Cloves: No need to mince! The food processor will do all the work for you!
  • Pine Nuts: To really bring out their flavor, lightly toast them in a small, dry skillet over medium low heat for about 3-5 minutes and allow them to cool on a plate before adding to your food processor.
  • Parmesan Cheese: The good stuff with the rind, freshly grated for the best flavor!
  • Olive Oil: Since this is a raw pesto sauce, use the fruity and fragrant Extra Virgin Olive Oil variety.
  • Salt and Pepper: Start with 1/4 tsp each Salt and Black Pepper, taste, and then add more if needed.

Pasta, pesto, tomatoes, Parmesan, and basil in a white bowl with blue rim

How to Make Pesto Sauce

With the help of your food processor, this homemade pesto recipe comes together quick and easy.

  1. Place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse a few times to break up into a coarse texture.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil with the motor running on low to allow for the pesto sauce to emulsify. Puree into a smooth sauce, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. If you find that your pesto is too thick, add a few more tablespoons olive oil or water to thin out your pesto sauce to your desired consistency.
  3. Give it a taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. You can even add more Parmesan cheese or garlic if you want more of those flavors.
  4. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge (or freezer – more on that later!) for later use.

Tomato, mozzarella, basil, Prosciutto, and tortellini skewers with a bowl of pesto in white casserole dish

How to Use Pesto

Learning how to make pesto is the fun part, but knowing how to use pesto is the delicious part! You can, of course, go the classic route and serve it as a pasta sauce. But there are so many more interesting options…

  • Fresh veggie or bread dip which you can serve as an appetizer for all your fraannds!
  • Salad dressing, just take a few tablespoons of the pesto, thin it out with more olive oil or water, season, and toss with your favorite salad!
  • Vegetable and Pasta Skewers**, my favorite version! For your next party or summer gathering, skewer tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, Prosciutto, more fresh basil leaves, and your favorite store-bought tortellini, cooked to al dente, and serve them with a giant bowl of your homemade pesto sauce on the side.
  • Grilled Meat or Veggie Sauce, simply use the pesto as a finishing sauce for any meat, chicken, seafood, or vegetable.

Pesto in a blue bowl with a wooden spoon

How to Store Pesto

There are two options:

  1. In the fridge, place the pesto in an airtight container and store for up to one week. To prevent the pesto from browning, drizzle a thin layer of olive oil over the top or directly cover the surface with a piece of plastic wrap.
  2. In the freezer, place in an airtight container or plastic freezer storage bag, seal tightly, label, date, and store for up to 3 months. Or, for a pre-portioned option, place the pesto in a silicon ice cube tray, freeze, then remove the pesto ice cubes and place in a plastic freezer storage bag, label, and date. Grab a cube or two whenever the craving strikes!
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Pesto sauce in the bowl of a food processor with a spatula

How to Make Pesto!

  • Author: elizabethvanlierde7698
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Quick
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Learn How to Make Pesto in a few easy steps with the help of your food processor! All you need are basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper. These simple ingredients make the ultimate pesto recipe for pasta or, one of my favorites, summertime vegetable & pasta skewers!


Scale

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Fresh Basil Leaves, lightly packed
4 Garlic Cloves
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, lightly toasted & cooled
1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more if needed
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/2 Cup Olive Oil, plus more if needed

Instructions

Place the basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, and pulse until coarse. With the motor running on low, drizzle in the olive oil. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed. Store an an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes

For a thinner, looser consistency, add a few tablespoons olive oil or water.

Add more grated Parmesan cheese or an extra garlic clove if you want more of those flavors.

Keywords: How to Make Pesto, Homemade Pesto Recipe, Ultimate Pesto Recipe, Classic Pesto Sauce, Genovese Pesto

 

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