Basil Pesto

I need to know from the gardeners among you – is it too late in the season for me to try (again) to grow my own basil? Seriously, I’d love your advice. I’ve got a sunny yard and a continual desire for basil in the summer. The only thing I seem to be lacking is a green thumb. Time and again I’ve gone through the process of eagerly selecting herb seedlings at the garden center. I lovingly plant them at home in a pretty terra cotta planter (one of those with the windows scattered around the sides, like a little herb hotel on the Mediterranean). And then the aphids arrive. In fear of spraying anything toxic on the plants I abandon the whole thing and revert to the pricey produce department packs.

Even though I had to shell out the big bucks (not really, like five) for a big pack of organic basil at the grocery store it was all worth it to blend up my own fresh pesto. It’s so versatile, adding intense herby, garlicky flavor to everything from panini to pasta. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to parlay my homemade pesto into another “on the side” recipe I found – Spinach-Pesto Lasagna.

Basil Pesto
From inside a package of Private Selection Organic Basil Leaves

Makes approx. 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. of pasta


2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry
2/3 cup romano or pecorino cheese, grated
1/3 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large cloves fresh garlic, to taste


Using a blender or food processor, add cheese and pine nuts. Blend for a few seconds. Drizzle in olive oil, blending until desired consistency is reached. Add garlic and basil, allowing each ingredient to blend smoothly with the preceding ones. Let stand for one hour. Refrigerate or freeze pesto.

For ready-to-use portions, freeze pesto in ice cube trays, then add to your favorite red sauce.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

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  1. Not very versed in the basil growing season, so hopefully someone can help you out. Great classic pesto. It’s really fun to mess with pestos and try different herbs and nuts.

    Posted 7.5.10 Reply
  2. Try spraying some soapy water on the plants (mix a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle of water.) That should keep the pests away. And no, I don’t think it’s too late.

    Posted 7.6.10 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Is that all? I definitely have dish soap and a spray bottle on hand – I’ll give it a try. Thanks, Kalyn!

      Posted 7.6.10 Reply
  3. linda wrote:

    My basil does best when it’s ignored. When I first got it, I tended to it, looked after it, water, pruning….. it was still being eaten and I thought it was a lost cause. I forgot about it for awhile (as I thought there was no hope), threw in some water now and then, and suddenly, it’s a big, beautiful plant…. Not sure what to tell you, but if I spend time thinking about it, it doesn’t seem to grow.

    Posted 7.6.10 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Linda – I’m definitely good at ignoring my plants. This should be a breeze. 🙂

      Posted 7.6.10 Reply
  4. Amanda wrote:

    the pesto is such a pretty color!


    Posted 9.27.11 Reply