This is my classic basil pesto recipe. I love having pesto at hand whenever the craving hits, so I make this full recipe and freeze it in ice cube trays to be able to grab a tablespoon at a time!
Because the trickiest part of pesto is that basil oxidizes very quickly. If you’ve ever stored pesto in the refrigerator for a few days, you’ll see it start to turn black on the surface. By freezing the pesto though, you stall the oxidation process, keeping the pesto tasting and looking fresh for much longer.
It also allows you to be able to take the pesto out in useful size chunks for a weeknight grilled cheese, pasta dish or pizza topping. Simply remove the number of cubes you need from the freezer as you start to prep your meal and they’ll quickly warm up to room temperature.
We usually take out 1 cube for sauces, drizzling on eggs/pizza/anything at all, 2 for grilled chicken marinades and 3-4 for pasta dishes, depending on the final ingredients.
The best part? If one’s not enough, just pop out another cube and you’re good to go.
This recipe makes a very concentrated pesto. I blend it with as little olive oil as possible so that when it’s defrosted, it’s not super oily. This way you can add in more olive oil as you build your final dish!
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
4 cups fresh basil, tightly packed
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup walnuts
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1. Toast the walnuts for 3-5 minutes, until just they start to blacken
2. In a high-speed blender, layer the olive oil, garlic, walnuts, parmesan, salt, pepper and basil leaves. Blend on high just until smooth.
3. Store in a glass jar for one week, or spoon into an ice cube tray and freeze for up to 3 months.