You simply can’t beat freshly made basil pesto. Store bought doesn’t hold a candle. The key to this recipe, in my opinion, is that the Fresh Basil comes directly from a living plant – and a pretty living plant. Look for one with no dark spots on the leaves. In Dallas, I find live basil in most stores, but Trader Joe’s has the best – both price and longevity.
These basil plants can be found at Tom Thumb and often at Central Market. They are still in soil, but kind of floating in water in that plastic bag, so only will live about a day. The plants from Trader Joe’s are larger and in a full pot so could last quite awhile as long as you water them!
Fresh Pesto is great for lots of recipes! You can use it as a vegetable dip, top sauteed Portabellas, make paninis , make chicken pesto pasta , or top crostini. Fresh Basil Pesto can stay in your fridge for 1 week. After that there is a botulism risk from the garlic and oil. You could freeze some by adding a little oil to the coat the surface, but I’d suggest just finding more ways to enjoy your basil that first week. : )
Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
makes 1 cup of pesto
2 c. firmly packed Fresh Basil Leaves, torn from a live plant (3 of these or 2 of the larger plants from Trader Joe’s)
1/4 c. pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 c. firmly packed and freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Murray River salt
16 turns fresh ground pepper
1/2 c. olive oil
Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor. Pulse several times, then turn to on setting. Drizzle the olive oil in slowly from the top while food processor is spinning.