I love fresh herbs! I used to buy them in those little bundles at the grocery store, but I realized last winter that I had the perfect southern facing window in my kitchen with a ledge large enough for a few plant pots. Now I have these cute little pots with basil, rosemary and cilantro hanging out with me in the kitchen. So far I've managed to keep them alive which is amazing because I don't have the best track record with house plants. I would love to be able to grow herbs outside, but our growing season is really short and I'm not sure they would survive the winter.
Basil is a plant that thrives if it is plucked regularly. I use a few leaves here and there while cooking, but sometimes it gets really bushy and that's when it's pesto time. You need a lot of basil leaves to make pesto and most times it leaves my little plant nearly naked, but it bounces right back and a few weeks later it's pesto time again.
I love how versatile pesto is. It can go almost anything whether it's fish, meat, pasta or even potatoes. My family's fave way to eat it is in, what we like to call, Shrek pasta. It's basically fettuccine alfredo with pesto mixed in to turn it green. I promise I'll link the recipe here as soon as I get it posted.
Pesto for the Freezer
4 cups fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Chop until it is a thick paste. Slowly pour olive oil into food processor while chopping. Continue adding olive oil until your pesto has reached the desired consistency.
1 cup of olive oil is just a guideline. I rarely measure my oil. I just pour it in straight from the bottle until it looks good.
Using silicone ice cube trays makes life so much easier. The pesto just pops right out when done.
Pour pesto into ice cube cavities. Don't worry about filling all of them. Fill as many as you can. Bang the tray on the counter a few times to level out the pesto.
Cover cubes with plastic wrap. Press down lightly so all pesto is covered. This will prevent the pesto from browning while freezing solid.
Pop the pesto cubes out and store in a ziplock freezer bag until ready to use or up to 6 months.
Thaw pesto cubes in the microwave, in a pan on the stovetop, or by placing the plastic bag in a bowl of warm water. They can also be added directly to sauces or soups.
By the way, there’s no reason why you can’t skip the freezing step and use this pesto fresh in your recipes. It’s delicious that way too!
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I love cooking with real food, knitting with good yarn, sleeping in (when the kids let me), staying up late to finish that last chapter, DIY projects, and most of all enjoying life.
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