Classic basil pesto is one of my favorite sauces to make. Typically pesto is used as a pasta sauce, but it can also be used as a spread on foods like bread, pizza, or crostinis. Basil pesto is also a complimentary sauce to put on halibut. This versatile sauce only takes about 10 minutes to prepare and most of the ingredients are usually already in the kitchen.
Basil is in season during the summer months, however, freezing ensures that you can enjoy fresh basil pesto year round. If you are going to freeze the pesto, omit the cheese and add it in after you defrost and are ready to use. Freeze in an air-tight container and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.
A few tips:
- Walnuts or almonds can be substituted for pine nuts
- Be careful not to over salt because the cheese is already salty
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth. If not freezing, add in the cheese and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.