How To Make Homemade Pesto
3 cups packed basil leaves
2-3 gloves fresh or bottled garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cups pine nuts
3/4 cups shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. Plant a basil plant....and remember to water it. :) Also, as it flowers from the top of the plant, pinch it off! This helps the plant keep growing. (Leaving the flowers on signals to the plant that it is at the end of its lifespan.)
2. Harvest your leaves.
3. Rinse and pat dry the leaves just before you plan to make the pesto.
4. Remove the stems! (This is the most tedious part of the process, and it doesn't have to be perfect. Just try to get the bulk of the stem.)
5. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste.
6. Put in clean, small gift mason jars and freeze until use.
Thaw a jar when ready to use and add as a sauce to cooked pasta, chicken, or bread or pizza. It can be warmed or served room temperature. For some other great uses of pesto, click here!
Pesto has endless possibilities and is a quick and flavorful way to create a healthy and homemade meal! If I know ahead of time that our evening is packed full, I remove a jar of pesto before leaving for work in the morning and let it thaw throughout the day. Later that evening, between practices and lessons, I boil some pasta and toss it with some pesto, and voila - dinner is done. The pine nuts and parmesan cheese add plenty of protein. For some added vegetables, throw together a simple salad to serve along with it.
(It helps to keep the kiddos busy during your basil harvesting and pesto making....see below. :)