Easy basil pesto (recipe)

My favorite basil pesto recipe is from Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook (which looks as though it is being re-released this year!). I have been making her pesto for years – my favorite is to store it in ice cube trays or little containers in the freezer and bring it out when I need it.

Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (I used Trader Joes toasted pine nuts)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Romano pecorino cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Blend the first 5 ingredients together (I use my food processor), scraping the bowl from time to time. Pour into a bowl and blend the cheeses and butter in by hand. Since I freeze my pesto for later use, I don’t add the cheeses and butter until right before I am ready to use (if at all).

And if you make your own or buy your favorite store brand, here are 5 easy ways to use Basil Pesto:

  1. Spread a tablespoon over a piece of salmon or a chicken breast and roast in the oven, 400F, for 15-20 minutes
  2. Toss with cubed or new potatoes, either steamed or roasted, and serve
  3. Make Susan Hattie Steinsapir’s Goat Cheese Torta with Pesto (one of the first recipes I pulled off the internet, back in 1994-95 when rec.food.cooking was really lively)
  4. Toss with whole wheat pasta, halved cherry tomatoes and little mozarella balls. Serve cold.
  5. Swirl a spoonful of pasta into a minestrone or pasta e fagioli soup, right before serving

What is your favorite way to use pesto?

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One Comment

  1. Kenzie
    Posted August 28, 2010 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    I love using pesto for just a dipping sauce for bread or crackers..I don’t know how traditional that is, or where it came from, but my mother does it and I do it and we love it! Just some oil, pesto, and garlic and voila! Perfection.

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