How To Make Perfect Pesto Every Time
Makesabout 1 cup
Prep25 minutes to 30 minutes
Prep time 25 minutes to 30 minutes
Makes about 1 cup
- 5 to 6 ounces
fresh basil leaves (2 big bunches or about 6 cups gently packed), or any other green, divided
- 1/2 cup
toasted pine nuts, or any other nut
- 1/2 cup
grated Parmesan cheese, or any other hard cheese
- 1 to 2 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
extra-virgin olive oil
Blender or food processor
Blend half the basil with the nuts, cheese, and garlic. Place 1/2 of the basil (about 3 cups) in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or blender. Add 1/2 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 to 2 cloves garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and process or blend until the ingredients are finely chopped.
Blend in the rest of the basil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl or pitcher and add the remaining 3 cups basil. Process or blend until a uniform paste has formed, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl or pitcher as needed.
Stream in the olive oil. With the motor running, stream in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup olive oil. Less olive oil will make a paste good for spreading on sandwiches and pizzas; more will make a sauce better for pastas and stirring into soup. Scrape down the sides of the bowl or pitcher and continue blending as needed until the olive oil is emulsified into the basil and the pesto looks uniform.
Taste and adjust. Taste the pesto and add more salt, garlic, nuts, or cheese as needed.
Using and storing pesto. Pesto will darken and brown very quickly, but will still be tasty and fresh for several days. For best appearance, use it right away.
Storage: Store pesto in the smallest container possible with the smallest top surface area and thoroughly pack it in to eliminate air pockets. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the surface or press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pesto, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Pesto can also be frozen for several months.