Mmmm…pesto. I've never found a store bought version that can compete with home made, so I crank out about fifteen jars each summer and freeze them for use throughout the year. I usually run out of the previous years' stockpile around the time my garden is producing a ton of basil - I harvest the leaves and make pesto at least twice during the growing season. We enjoy it on pasta, pizza, eggs, toast, seared steaks, baked chicken…and I always take a jar of it when we go camping in the Caribbean for thanksgiving. Home made pesto makes a supreme gift in the middle of winter!
This recipe makes 5 half pint jars.
a huge bunch of basil (mine weighed about 6 ounces without stems)
10 ounces grated parmesan cheese
at least 6 cloves of pressed garlic
6 ounces walnuts
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Basil from my home garden. That's probably equivalent to two bunches from the Eugene farmer's market, or about six bunches from a farmer's market in New York. I weighed the leaves after spinning the water off and it was very close to six ounces.
I like it garlicky. I'll use a whole head if it's kind of small.
Buy the best parmesan you can afford. It makes all the difference.
I use walnuts instead of pine nuts. Maybe they're affordable on the west coast, but I won't sport for half a pound of 'em in New York. One of these days, I'll harvest my own pine nuts - and I bet I'll only need a small amount to add a ton of flavor to the pesto.
Crush the garlic.
Two cups of extra virgin olive oil.
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. You can't really taste it in the pesto, but it definitely adds something - and it helps preserve the color.
1 tablespoon kosher salt.
Toss the ingredients together in a large bowl.
I'd probably use my hands if I weren't handling a camera.
Add about a third of the pesto ingredients to your blender and push it down with a wooden spoon.
Blend, pause, push ingredients down. Repeat.
Continue with the remainder of the pesto ingredients.
If it's too thick, just add more olive oil.
It takes a while in the blender, but it works fine. Of course you can use a food processor if you have one!
Spoon the pesto into five pint size jars.
Tappa tappa it down.
Put lids on the jars and freeze the pesto for up to a year.