Pesto 101

By Katie

Pesto has got to be one of my absolute favorite things in the food world.  It is such a versatile sauce/spread/dip.  You can spread it on a panini, spoon it over pasta, or mix it into some sour cream or creme fraiche to create an amazing dip!

If you’ve never made your own pesto before, ask yourself a question…


It’s super easy, and store-bought really doesn’t compare to the taste of freshly made pesto.

Let me show you just how easy it is.

First, let me again make a plug for buying a three dollar basil plant at your local greenhouse and sticking it anywhere – even in one of your flowerbeds. The price to purchase a little package of basil at your super market is going to cost you that much, and you can only use it once.

Basil is super easy to take care of, does well in hot weather, and will continue to yield you volumes of this fresh herb all summer long.  I actually plant three plants, and then sprinkle some seeds around the area as well, so I have loads of the stuff.

I make pesto all summer, and pesto is one of those things that does really well in the freezer, so I make two batches each time.  I use one, and freeze the other so that all winter long, I have homemade basil pesto that I just pull out of the freezer when needed.

To make pesto, start by washing 2 cups of fresh basil.


Toss it into your food processor.


The beauty of making pesto is that you toss everything into the food processor, and give it a whir. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes.  The experts will tell you to use a mortar and pestle, but the experts probaby don’t have a bazillion kids, a real job, and laundry to do.  The food processor works just fine!

Add two cloves of fresh garlic.


Then add 1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts.  I actually prefer walnuts.


Now add 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.  You can use freshly grated parmigiano- reggiano if you adore the stuff like I do, but the old green plastic bottled variety will do just fine also.


Crack in some black pepper to taste – I use about 1/2 teaspoon.


Add about 1 teaspoon salt.  I use Kosher.  You may want to half this if using regular table salt.


Put your lid on your processor, and give it about 10 quick pulses.


Now turn your processor on and slowly drizzle  in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil to your add spout at the top of your food processor.


Once you get all of the olive oil in, turn off your food processor.  You don’t want to pulvarize it, but just get the oil incorporated.

The smell at this point will be heaven.


And that my dear friends, is Pesto 101.  You will be amazed at the variety of recipes you will begin to make with this stuff.

It’s so good, I used it tonight to make Pesto C hicken Packets with Wheat Penne.  (Recipe coming tomorrow). And let me tell you, it’s a KEEPER.  Mr. Wonderful gave this recipe his firm stamp of approval tonight!  Enjoy!


Katie’s Printable Recipe- Pesto 101


Cookin with Love,




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11 responses to “Pesto 101

  1. Diane Rath

    Hi Katie! Hope you make it home safely – the pictures of the flood are incredible! Anyway, if you have time to respond, I’m making your pesto today. How do you measure 2 cups of pesto? I have 2 – 2 oz. pkgs from the grocery store. Along with a 4-pack of plants that I’m going to plant because the price in the grocery is outrageous!!

    • dishinanddishes

      Di -I just really estimated 2 cups. If you have a 2 cup container Pyrex – it should fill it or else 2 good handfuls. I don’t even really measure.

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  7. MIL Fran

    guess I’ll have to make a batch to see what the shouting is all about.


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  9. Cheryl

    I really enjoy homemade pesto….but, I make mine without the cheese. Can’t help it, that’s just the way I am…..Katie’s no cheese please sister-in-law. The flavor of the basil, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic still come through wonderfully. I’ve even put it in my rice or risotto (yes, without cheese)…Yum!

  10. Janey

    Don’t tease us like that – give us the recipe tonight!

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