how to: pesto

003 - pesto

After the birds stopped using my window boxes as their own personal feeding/nesting boxes, my plants have been doing extremely well. My basil has especially grown, which meant it was time for a good trim. Basil grows best when it cut back occasionally.

001 - basil

I decided to make pesto with the harvest. Pesto is one of my favorite sauces, especially when I am looking for something easy to throw on some pasta or gnocchi. It freezes well, so you can make a big batch of it and freeze what you don’t use. I make it in a food processor because it is extremely easy. You also could use a blender.

002 - processor



  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted // I toast them in a dry saute pan over medium-high heat. Keep them moving and watch them carefully because they only take a couple of minutes to burn. They will be light-medium brown when done. 
  • 1-2 cloves roughly chopped garlic // I like the basil to shine so I tend to only use 1 clove of garlic, but if you like a garlicy pesto you can use more
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan or other hard cheese // I used pecorino romano because that’s what I had on hand


  1. Wash and dry your basil leaves.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor, place the pine nuts, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.
  3. Process for 15 seconds or until everything is roughly chopped. If the pine nuts are still warm, they might discolor the basil leaves slightly but this is fine.
  4. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.
  5. Add the cheese, and puree for a minute.
  6. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer with a little bit of olive oil on top. This will keep air out of the pesto which can ruin it.



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