Traditional Basil Pesto with Toasted Pine Nuts
Basil pesto is an easy sauce to make for pastas, marinades, and much more! Add toasted pine nuts, and this pesto will become one of your favorites!
I planted my garden pretty late this year, partially because I was behind schedule, but also because my garden wasn’t ready until late June (if you follow me on instagram, you might remember my garden soil post!?). I went into it knowing, that I very well could be wasting my entire summer growing all of the veggies, only to have them freeze before they were ready, but I love my garden, and it makes me happy just to be out there with my chickens and kitties, so I didn’t mind.
One thing that has grown like crazy though, is basil. I came home from a few days in Reno to find that my three basil plants had practically taken over! This was great, except for the fact that I don’t actually like basil very much. Truthfully, the smell of it makes me queasy.
Weird, I know. The only thing I really like, is traditional pesto. I like my pesto made with extra pine nuts, and lots of garlic. So, what’s a girl to do when she comes home to find a basil take over? Make pesto of course!!!
Do you have to toast pine nuts for pesto?
To answer simply, no you don’t have to toast the pine nuts. In fact, you don’t even have to use pine nuts! Many people used walnuts instead! I love the flavor that pine nuts add to pesto, especially when toasted, so I prefer to toast the pine nuts when making fresh basil pesto!
What is pesto?
Pesto is typically made from basil, oil, cheese, and seasonings. It originated in Genoa, Italy! Pesto can be made with many different ingredients though such as tomatoes or roasted pepper. The name pesto originates from the tool originally used to make pesto called: pestle! A pestle & mortar were used to grind the ingredients down into the delicious paste we know as pesto!
- 6 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
- 6 Cloves Garlic
- Juice from Half a Lemon
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup + 1 T (divided) Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
- Salt (to taste)
- Garlic Powder (to taste)
- Preheat your oven to 425 F
- In a small bowl, combine 1 T olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and pine nuts. Toss to coat the nuts.
- Sprinkle over a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until toasted. Remove from oven, and allow to cool.
- In a blender or food processor add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan. Pulse to combine, then add the basil. Puree until smooth.
- Taste, and add more Parmesan, salt, etc.. until you are happy with the flavors.