I’ve been on a cooking kick lately mostly because we have been traveling a lot, and doing crafts takes more time and planning – so I apologize for the lack of “Attempts” I’ve not been attempting.
As I’ve stated before, when I started to realize that I could cook well (without training) and I could create meals that were restaurant quality, the desire to cook became very strong. All of the negatives that come along with cooking – time consuming, messy, potentially gross, etc – end up being outweighed by the positives of a delicious, home-cooked meal. I’ve been trying to move away from boxed things a much as possible because 1) you can customize a standard recipe to your liking, and 2) you know what is going in your body which is a wonderful feeling!
Michael and I have a little herb garden on our window sill that we absolutely love. The most successful herb we planted is without a doubt our basil plant, which is more like a basil monster. The aroma that wafts off of it any time you brush by the plant is incredible! It was getting huge though – like, too huge – so we figured it was time again to use it….
My handsome love collecting basil leave for me!
Here I present to you, How to Make Pesto from Scratch!
First, let me tell you something I have learned: the difference between using fresh ingredients and not using fresh ingredients (I’m talking, grating a block of cheese as opposed to using pre-shredded) is HUGE. Oh really, Jessica? You don’t say? Yes it is true and miraculous, I know. Trust – it only takes a few more minutes and worth it. Don’t be lazy. Moving on!
You will need:
- A blender
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (Yes, we grew our own and it is amazing. If you son’t have a plant, I’d suggest a farmers market for the freshest)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Garlic (depends on how garlic-y you want it – I did about 6 very tiny cloves and it was a bit much. Start with two cloves and you can always add more)
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper (to taste, optional)
My favorite recipes are the ones where you take everything and toss it all together and it comes out perfect -
this is that kind of recipe.
Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients
Gather your basil, chop your garlic, measure your pine nuts, grate your cheese and pour your olive oil…
How gorgeous is that color?!
Clearly I was not the most organized or clean chef on this particular day
Pine nuts are cool because they look like little dried corn kernels, but are soft and buttery when you eat them. I’ve heard that if you run out, you can substitute with walnuts…but who really knows? I didn’t try it.
Step 2: Blend It!
Yup. Dump it all in a blender, blend and watch it transform into delicious pesto.
That was SO EASY, right?! This seriously took 10 minutes start to finish.
This pesto can be used for a variety of things. We went the traditional route and put it on pasta with grilled chicken, but you can put it on sandwiches or use it as a marinade or a dipping sauce! Enjoy!