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May 23, 2005 04:42 PM

basil pesto.... recipe exchange

  • m

finally there was some good basil at the farmer's market this past weekend. nice and tender. I made some basil pesto that made me wish I could make my tomato plants grow faster! I had to laugh, during the winter I can almost make myself believe that jar pesto sauce is tasty, but it doesn't hold a candle to the real thing.

Thought we could swap some pesto recipes, if anyone has some good ones.

Here is mine... sorry it is not more exact, it ends up a little different every time... and usually varies by the amount of basil/parsley I have.

basil & parsley - usually in a 1/3 parsley, 2/3 basil, sometimes 50/50. occassionally I'll throw in a little baby spinach if I am short on key ingredients.
handful of toasted pine nuts (or walnuts)
1/4 = 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
fresh ground black pepper
a dash of salt
garlic (a clove or two... sometimes roasted)
olive oil.. probably about 1/4 cup
juice of a whole lemon (if small, half if large)
whiz up until smooth in a food processor, toss w/ hot pasta, or spread of roasted veggie sandwhiches, etc. uses are endless.

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  1. My aunt gave me this low-fat recipe, similar to yours but minus the oil:

    Peggy's Pesto
    2-3 cups fresh basil
    4 - 8 garlic cloves peeled
    1/2 cup pine nuts
    1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I always use more)
    1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
    put garlic in processor and blend (don't over process) add pine nuts,and basil, after processing all of these add cheese and drizzle lemon juice until of the consistency you want.
    Does not keep as long in the fridge as oil based pesto.

    But of course I can't leave it alone and since I'm a lover of cream sauces, I then make a roux with butter and flour and add in skim milk if I'm feeling like something less fatty or half and half if feeling decadent. Once I have a nice base, I pour in the pesto and typically a bit more parmesan for a lovely pesto cream sauce.

    1 Reply
    1. re: krissywats

      My recipe is fairly similar, though it is an oil version. I have never used any herbs but basil in my besto -- I'm sortof fascinated by that idea and might have to try it.

      Here's what I do:

      2-3 cups fresh basil
      4 garlic cloves peeled
      1/2 cup pine nuts
      just a TB of parmesan

      Depending on how liquidy I want it (i.e., what I'm putting it on, etc), I add a different amount of oil. But I always add about 70% good virgin olive oil, and 30% corn oil. Somehow I've found that the slight sweetness of the corn oil can take care of the slight bitterness that one sometimes finds in pesto.

      salt and pepper, amply.

      blend it.

    2. Marcella Hazan's pesto recipe works wonderfully well. Here is her basic one:

      She has a few others - mint, etc in her cookbooks, I do not know if they are online.

      3 Replies
      1. re: summertime

        First, you can freeze pesto with no effect.

        Mine is very similar to Marcella Hazan's also, except I don't use romano cheese, just parmesan. Romano tastes a little sweeter than parmesan. And I use two or three times as much pine nuts. I keep it very simple, just basil and no other greens, and just roasted pine nuts and not other nut meats.

        And, while you're waiting for your tomatoes, pesto tastes good on avocados, too.

        Hope you get some more interesting recipes.


        1. re: kc girl

          I use Bittman's recipe which I believe is similar to this one- I know it's basically basil, pine nuts, oil. I skip the cheese and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then defrost for veggies and pasta. Does it freeze well w/ the parmesan cheese?

          1. re: twinmommy

            Marcella recommends freezing BEFORE adding the cheese and the butter - essentially on freezes a mixture of basil, pine nuts, olive oil, gralic and salt.

            I never tried to freeze it any other way - freshly grated parmigiano seems like an obviously superior product and there is hardly any gain in term of efficiency to do it any other way.

      2. Below is a link for a classic & really good basil pesto.

        I always buy extra pine nuts, and have extra grated Parm, olive oil, and have extra basil on hand so I can make it to taste (and desired thickness). This way if it is too thin I add pine nuts, too mild more basil, etc. etc.

        My neighbors like when "pesto season" comes comes Funwithfood with bread and pesto! My kids even fight over it. Yes, it does freeze beautifully. I freeze it in small serving-size ramekins.

        NOTE: Because I grow my own basil, I have found that Genoa basil makes the best pesto. Other more anise-like varietals do not taste as good as compared to the more floral/aromatic varietals (Genoa or Picholine).