Thursday, October 18, 2012

Adventures in Pesto

Enjoying fresh pesto in Italy was one of my all-time favorite things about my trip to Europe. Learning how to make pesto myself is much more cost effective, because now I can subtract out the cost of an overseas plane trip. So I'm really saving myself over $1,000 by learning to make pesto myself. See how that works? Learn to make pesto and save yourself thousands!

Remember how I harvested my homegrown basil and promised how simple it was to make your own pesto? Well, I'm here to deliver on that promise. I hope you'll agree with me that it's fairly simple, or that would make me a liar. It's only simple if you can get through the nonsense below.

... simple ingredients ...

Making pesto is as easy as extra virgin olive oil, basil, parmesan, pine nuts, salt/pepper, garlic, and some walnuts if you're feeling like a rebel. I only say that because Ina Garten throws some walnuts into her recipe for pesto, but it's not the norm for pesto. I threw some into my pesto, because I was feeling a bit rebellious. I may have also purposely used more pine nuts that the recipe calls for, but who's keeping track.

If I don't know how to do something, I google it. Maybe if people googled things more often, we could start solving the world's problems. Or not. Most likely not.

... basil in a red bowl makes me think of Christmas ...

For some reason I was feeling paranoid about whether or not to wash my basil, so I googled it and opted to wash it. Better safe than sorry, right? I just swished it around in a bowl of water, and then patted the basil leaves dry on some paper towels. I felt much better after that, and I also extracted a tiny spider that hitchhiked in on a basil leaf. Washing was the safe bet.

I love how Ina Garten calls pine nuts by their more proper name, pignolis. Is it just me, or does it make you feel a bit fancy knowing your food contains pignolis. It's just me isn't it?

... I got all my ingredients all lined up in bowls and cups next to the food processor ...

You certainly don't need a food processor to make pesto. I haven't tried it myself, but google tells me that you can use a blender instead. So it must be legit. We received this food processor as a wedding gift from my mom. (And by we I mean me, but my husband gets to eat all the yummy food I make using it, so it's technically for him too) Isn't she a beauty?

Now that I think of it, the first time I ever used our food processor it was to make pesto. The video below is my first adventure in using a food processor and making homemade pesto. I had no idea what I was doing, but everything turned out okay. Except for the video is sideways.

... sorry it's sideways ...

After lots of googling for pesto recipes, I came to the conclusion that they're all pretty much the same. Except for that rebellious Ina Garten, she really threw a monkey wrench into things with those walnuts.

Without much further ado, pesto!

First you start with your nuts and garlic. Food process them, but I'm still trying to perfect this part. I may have processed a bit too long. Whoops.

Throw the basil right in on top of the paste you made out of garlic and pine nuts (or pignolis if you're feeling fancy again), and throw the salt and pepper right in there too. Again run the processor, or blender, and while everything is turning into pesto, you drizzle in that extra virgin olive oil.

You'll be able to tell you're headed in the right direction once everything gets all blended together. The last step, besides eating your creation, is throwing in some parmesan cheese and mixing it in really well.

Voila! You have pesto.

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Here are a couple pesto recipes you might like:

(I love pretty much all her food)

Like with any recipe though, play around with ingredients if you don't like what you make. You'll figure out the perfect balance of ingredients to make your perfect pesto. (:

Are you a pesto fan?


  1. I love pesto. One time, I bought the ready one and it was not nearly as good. I was growing basil too, until I made the mistake of putting outside on the deck, instead of inside on my kitchen window. All of sudden the leaves were gone! :(

    But now they're growing again, so hopefully some pesto will be made soon :)

  2. pesto is one of the easiest things to make and yet it makes an dish seem sophistocated! i love that you made your own, it is always the freshest!

  3. "Yeah, but that was on TV." Ha, I love it! I swear, TV foodies and cooks really do drag out things that don't really that that long and shorten things that take forever. My favorite is when they pull out another already cooked dish out of the oven right when they put in the raw dish lol.

    Your pesto looks great. I don't have a food processor that big, I might have to cut the recipe in half if I try to make this. How did it taste?!

  4. I Google everything. No shame! The pesto turned out great! It is definitely one of those "way too easy to buy store bought" sort of things. I love Ina Garten, too. Although I wish she'd just stop making meals for her husband. It seems like most of the time, she's like "He's getting home late from work and so I thought I'd surprise him with..." STOP RIGHT THERE... he expects another meal. No surprises there. Haha!