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Perfect Summer Pesto

By Kelsey Banfield |

Herb pot for pesto

Last week we got a great big herb pot for our new deck. It is bursting with fragrant mint, parsley, basil, thyme, cilantro and sage. I can hardly describe how inspired I am every time I look at it. To celebrate this latest milestone in our new suburban life, on Saturday I decided to make my first batch of Summer Pesto with some of the basil.

To make my pesto last all year long I freeze half of each batch in individual freezer baggies. In the winter, when fresh herbs are not on my deck or at the farmer’s market, I thaw a bag each time I need it. I highly recommend this “divide and freeze half” method, it means you’ll never have to be without homemade pesto ever again. Isn’t that a relief?!

Summer Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (pack them in tightly!)
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. freshly grated Romano cheese
2/3 c. good olive oil

1. Combine basil and garlic in a food processor and blend to a fine paste.
2. Add pine nuts, process until smooth.
3. Add cheeses and process again, until smooth.
4. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in the food processor and mix until smooth and creamy. If pesto seems too thick dribble in 1/4 c. warm water to thin it out.
5. Pesto will stay in the refrigerator for up to 10 days in a sealed container. Or, if you want to save it for later, freeze it using the instructions below.

Freezing Pesto: To freeze pesto put it in a sealed air-tight container like a small ziploc bag or tupperware. Once it is thawed it should not be re-frozen.

Naptime Notes:
Naptime Recipe Props: This is a basic pesto recipe that never fails and is extremely versatile. Sometimes I stir it into pasta salads or make a light pesto salad dressing, other times I like to use it as a sandwich spread or a dip with veggies.
Naptime Stopwatch: I am able to make a large batch of this pesto in less than 10 minutes. Take your time to make sure everything is combined well, this will make it most flavorful.
Naptime Reviews: Everyone loves a good pesto recipe and this one never disappoints. Once I added a little jalapeno for spice and everyone liked that, too!

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About Kelsey Banfield


Kelsey Banfield

Kelsey Banfield is the food writer and the founder of The Naptime Chef. She writes a daily food column for Babble Food and her food writing has also appeared in the places like Parents magazine, and Martha Stewart Living. Kelsey lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and daughter. Read bio and latest posts → Read Kelsey's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “Perfect Summer Pesto

  1. [...] week my herb harvest was particularly bountiful today. I can’t wait to get started making fresh batches of pesto this afternoon. In the mean time, here are some pretty cool things I observed this week on my [...]

  2. Kirsten says:

    You can even freeze your pesto in ice cube trays so you can thaw just the amount you need.

  3. Mario Grazia says:

    Good recipe: often, recipes for pesto have a lot of ingredients, but the original recipe has only with pine nuts, basil leaves, EVOO, Parmesan and Pecorino cheese and little garlic. Well done!

    Traditional way to make “pesto alla genovese” is using a mortar in marble but if you don’t have it, you can use a food processor, but be sure to use it on low speed to avoid overheating the basil leaves.

    To maintain the bright green color, you can put the bowl of the food processor in the freezer, or add some ice cubes to the basil leaves.

    The most classic ligurian recipe with pesto are “Trenette al pesto”:

    But in Liguria, there’s also another traditional tasty dish with pesto sauce: Genoa-style pesto lasagna

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