Basil Pesto


Goodbye, basil. Hello, pesto.

When’s the right time to trim back your basil to the nubbins so you can make pesto with your summer’s bounty? In my case, it was the first day of fall, which wasn’t that cool or even necessarily fallish, but it’s coming soon. And I figured it was only a matter of time until my gorgeous, very bushy basil might be sacrificed to a frost. So clip clip clip I went with my scissors and I filled up almost an entire laundry basketful.



Have you ever seen a recipe calling for a laundry basketful of basil?

I’m not going to do that to you.

Using the recipe from my book, I just upped the amount of basil until I filled up my food processor, and made adjustments on the other ingredients, too. I made two ice cube trays and then filled up two more 4-ounce (ish) containers, then put it all in the freezer. Won’t that be fun, having something — anything– with pesto in the middle of the winter?

I’ve made pesto gazillions of times, but have never had so much basil that I’ve had to make pesto with it. I consider this a very good thing, an abundance of basil…and now, a silly amount of pesto.

I plan to spread it on flatbreads and pizzas, toss it with roast chicken and use it as a sandwich spread. And of course, swirl it into my minestrone soup.

What’s your favorite way to use pesto, besides pasta?

Basil Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • big handful of fresh basil (about two packed cups, or enough to completely fill a small food processor)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small minced garlic clove
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss the pine nuts in your smallest food processor and pulse until they’re roughly chopped. Now, add your basil and pack it in as tight as you can. Add the olive oil and pulse until the basil is nice and fine, and now, add your minced garlic clove, Parmesan and big pinch of salt and pepper.