How to make your own pesto (Try #1)

So, we were making a recipe and halfway through it, I ransack the refrigerator, and say, “Uh-oh. Houston, we have a problem.

Blurry picture #1.

My man: “What?”
Me: “We’re out of pesto.”
My man: “I thought you were going to start making your own when you ran out this time.”
Me: “I guess that would be now.”
My man: “What’s in it?”
Me: “Where’s the laptop?”

After checking various sites, and lovely pictures, we agreed they all said pretty much the same thing: Basil, olive oil, garlic cloves, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. Well, lucky us. We had it all in the house. Looked like we were going to eat dinner after all.

Since we only needed a small amount, and it was super easy to make, we decided to make only what the recipe called for each time, rather than whip up a large batch and let it sit in the fridge. Kind of like we do with the tortillas. Making easy products like this as we need them mean they’ll be super fresh, and we can pretend our kitchen is a restaurant.

We improvised, using about a tablespoon of each ingredient. The cheese-lover threw in a little more cheese.  It ended something like this:

Dried basil = 2 tablespoons
Olive oil  = 2 tablespoons
Garlic = 2 minced cloves
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese = 1/4 cup
Pine nuts = a handful

So, play with the ingredients and then taste it. It’s supposed to taste like pesto, not garlic, not basil, not pine nuts, but a mixture of them all. Though all the sites claimed fresh basil was better, I don’t keep that on hand in the house. Guess I need to start growing spices! So, dried would have to do. It turned out great. It was beautiful, and dinner was delicious.

(Note: I wrote this post last year when we were still in VA! We grew our very own basil this summer 2012 and tried making it again. The result will be in the future Homemade pesto from the garden Try #2.)

Bravo! Sign pesto up beside peanut butter, tortillas, Greek yogurt, granola, muesli, marinara sauce and nut mixes. I won’t have to worry with containers any longer because I won’t be buying any of those anymore. I’ll make my own, and store them in their original containers.

My grandmothers were brilliant. I wish I’d discovered that sooner in life.

Me: “Oh, let me take a picture.”
My man: “Come on, Jenn. I’m hungry. You’re always taking pictures.”
Me: “Oh, just one more. That one was blurry.”

Two blurry pictures later, and there you go. Let me know how yours turns out!

And blurry picture #2.

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20 responses to “How to make your own pesto (Try #1)

  1. Looks Great!

  2. We love pesto, too, and grow our own basil. I recently tried scape pesto and it was to die for! Funny, my last post was on pesto!

  3. I am a pesto lover…yum!!!

  4. Something I haven’t tried making myself yet – mostly because nobody in the house but me will eat it. However, I do have a big pot of basil on the go, so will make some soon. I read somewhere too that you can make it with walnuts instead of pinenuts (which I don’t normally have in the house) – so I might try that.

  5. Thanks Ed! I’ve been watching your garden grow. I didn’t get a chance to read the post about what was wrong with your tomatoes…on my to-do-list. :)

  6. @Learningandyearning—scape pesto. I’ll have to check that out! It must be the time of year for the fresh basil. It’s all the rage right now.

  7. Nors—you sound like my kind of cook!

  8. Lightly crunchy—I hear the walnuts work just as well and are a lot cheaper than the pine nuts…let me hear how yours works out if you make it!

  9. I make lots of Basil Pesto in the Summer when Basil is plentiful. If you leave out the cheese, it can be added after defrosting, it freezes beautifully.

  10. I make my pesto (cheese and all) and freeze in cubes. Works just fine! I am of the “make it simple or I may not make it” mindset. You can make pesto with spinach if you have it, or subbing other herbs, nuts. You can leave out the parm if you want also! A basil+mint+walnut pesto is MARvelous with lamb. I recommend adding lemon juice — it needs acid.

    My version: whir one clove of garlic in food processor. Add as much basil/leafies as I can pack in loosely + handful of nuts + good healthy shake of parmesan, and pulse until chopped evenly. Add in while whirring: olive oil + juice of 1/2-1 lemon (to taste). Let it blend!! taste and adjust as necessary. If there is any left (we have a small food processor), freeze in cubes, then store in plastic baggie or storage container.

    Love your blog. My mom was a Navy Mom and I was AF Wife (though now I’m a Guard wife). We are also committed to reducing our footprint as well. Live Simply. Live Well. Amen.

    • fresh spinach pesto is best and no parmesan seems less cluttered on palate—mint is mintylicious for white meats or fish…and pistachio has a way of perking up taste to exotic content..thanks for the pointers.

  11. Excellent! One less thing that comes in a jar, and one more thing growing in the garden. it’s a win, win! The pesto looks great.

  12. Sorry — you know, a squeeze to 1/2 lemon is best for pesto. I got to thinking of hummus and how easy that is also whilst posting. My apologies.

  13. little things like this super taste of pesto is why i save small glass jars..i have many types of pasta begging to be pestoed…
    if you add crushed olives to the pesto–you have an instant biscotti party..small crakers, squares of french bread or unsweetened breads–and presto-pesto-canapes on the Mediterranean…good for you..

  14. Hey Jennifer I nominated you for a lovely blog award. I hope you don’t mind :)

  15. @ Bridget–next time I’ll leave out that cheese when I freeze. We haven’t had the chance to try it yet!

    @Becky–thanks for the recipe! Yet another way to make it, awesome! Kudos for the Navy moms and AF wives out there doing your part. We thank you! Got it. Don’t forget the lemon.

    @Nadine–Yummy! My man loves his olives. I will most most certainly try that! We’re big fans of Mediterranean food! I’ll have to try it with the spinach too. And good on you for saving those jars.

    @Stephanie–that was very thoughtful of you! :) Thank you.

    @Libby–at least we got a little bit of use out of that lovely basil before it went to seed. Last night I made a manicotti dish, and pulled the smallest leaves from the garden from that seeded basil plant. They weren’t bitter at all. We ate it up anyway. Long live the basil! :)

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  17. It looks great. Congratulations!

    • Thanks NotWiredThatWay! We used some last night in our recipe for dinner and it was delicious! I couldn’t believe it. My goal is to be Jamie Oliver!! :)

  18. Pingback: Mama’s coming to visit pasta | G.I. Crockpot

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