It’s our classic pesto recipe and how to store pesto and more questions are answered right here! Plus recipes that use pesto and how to keep it green.
I don’t know why, but I had never had pesto until college. At least I’m pretty sure I didn’t. And I honestly don’t even remember who made it when I did finally have it. All I remember was that it was a basic pesto pasta and I loved it. I’ll be the first to admit that I ate waaaaaay more than I should have. It was slightly nutty, cheesy, and super fresh. Could there be a better combo? We use pesto all the time now and we even make it a few different ways depending on how much of everything we have like our 15 Pesto Pasta, pesto butter grilled cheese, creamy pesto chicken pizza, or the bacon pesto grilled cheese sandwich contest I won with Tillamook. however in the end this is our ultimate, absolute favorite recipe for a classic pesto.
Pesto is really easy to make, but storing is a bit tricky. I have two ways that I store it and a third that I’ve heard great things about but never tried it, The Ice Cube Method. But we can talk about storing it after we discuss the actual recipe.
The ingredients are simple, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, olive oil and a pinch of salt. I personally am a huge fan of toasting the pine nuts and garlic.
I just heat up a pan to medium heat, add both and let it cook until golden, shaking the pan occasionally. Then I remove the nuts and allow the garlic to finish turning golden as well. An added bonus is that the garlic slides right out of it’s skin. I love that. So, yes you read right, toast the garlic in it’s thin skin and then remove it after it’s golden.
Place everything except the cheese and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Stir in the cheese and add salt to taste.
1.In a Jar in the Fridge/Freezer-We love pesto on everything from egg whites to garlic bread and chicken to pasta so I love having a jar handy in the fridge. During the winter it brightens up a meal to have something fresh.
Make your pesto and then fill a jar to to almost the very top. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and seal closed to keep pesto green. This can keep for a few weeks in the fridge if you continue to cover the top with olive to keep the herbs fresh. You can also choose to freeze the jar, but I wouldn’t keep it in the freezer for more than a month before switching it to the fridge.
2. Vacuum Bag- As I’ve already mentioned in my post about how to to freeze corn, I love the foodsaver. Yes, it costs a little money, but you end up saving tons. You can easily make your pesto, stick it in a bag, suck out the air and freeze it for up to 9 months. BOOYAH! When you’re ready to use it just move it down to the fridge to defrost and use on your favorite dish.
3. Ice Tray Method- This is the method I haven’t tried, but you can click the link to learn more.
Love these extra tips from a sweet reader from Italy, and her English is great so thank you my dear!!!
“Two Italian tips:
1) put ice in the food processor and mix, to cool your machine, before preparing your pesto. This will help in keeping your pesto more green.
2) If freezing, do not freeze with Parmigiano cheese inside. It’s taste will change. Add it right before using your pesto, after de-frosting.
Classic Pesto Recipe
- 3 Cups Basil, packed
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, unpeeled
- ¼ Cup plus 1½ Tablespoons Pine Nuts
- ¼ Cup plus 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- ¼ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt to taste
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the pine nuts and garlic. Toast for a few minutes or until golden brown, shaking the pan occasionally to toss the pine nuts and promote even color. Once the pine nuts are done, remove them from the pan and continue to toast the garlic. Remove it from the pan and remove the skin. Wait until both are cooled.
- Place the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and pulse until smooth, but still a tad grainy in texture. Place everything in a bowl and stir in the cheese. Salt to taste and store according to post directions.
See the post for details on storing pesto in a mason jar with a little olive oil in the fridge.
So you think you love pesto? Just wait until you have it on a pizza!
It only takes 15 minutes to create this pesto pasta.
Tortellini is a cheese filled pasta that pairs perfectly with a creamy pesto sauce.
Looking to eat better and healthier? This lean pesto tilapia is an under 30 minute healthy recipe.