This fresh basil pesto recipe is easy to make with pine nuts (or walntus), garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a generous drizzle of quality extra virgin olive oil. Make ahead and store in the fridge or freezer for later use. Be sure to read through my post and watch the video for important tips!
Quickly blanch the basil. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside near your stove. Fill a small saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Drop the basil leaves in the boiling water and blanch for 5 to 10 seconds or until wilted. Using tongs, transfer the basil leaves to prepared ice water to stop cooking.
Dry the basil very well. Pick up the basil leaves and wrap them in paper towel and squeeze to wring out all the water.
Make the pesto. Place the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. With the processor running, slowly pour the extra virgin olive oil. Do not run the processor too long, you want to have a little bit of texture to your basil pesto.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Transfer the basil mixture to a small bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine. If needed add a little bit more extra virgin olive oil to mix.
Use immediately or store for later (see notes for storage).
Storage. Transfer the pesto to a mason jar. Cover with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil (this creates a seal and prevents air from getting to it). Cover tightly and refrigerate. As you use some of the pesto over time, be sure to replenish the thin layer of extra virgin olive oil on top.It should keep well in the fridge for 1 week or maybe longer.
To Freeze. You can freeze the pesto in a tightly-closed freezer safe jar, be sure to add a thin layer of olive oil on top still. If you freeze it this way, plan to use the pesto within 1 month. Or, if you want to freeze it in smaller amounts, pour the pesto into ice cube trays and freeze until hard. Once frozen, transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 6 months.