Saturday, June 23, 2012

Authentic Pesto

One thing that is always a staple in my garden is basil. When my tomatoes wilt under the hot Texas sun and I become disenchanted with gardening in such harsh conditions once again (it is a seasonal disorder with me), I can always count on my basil. I usually plant way more than I can use. Making homemade pesto is one of those "have to" summer activities, but it has taken me a while to get around to making a batch this year. The boys and I got invited to a potluck yesterday, so I finally made my way out to the garden to pick a handful of the fragrant herb and mix up a batch of fresh pesto to serve with some chewy garlic sourdough bread. There was no pesto left to take home at the end of the night, a pleasing compliment to the chef.

I couldn't find the pesto recipe I usually work from, so I turned to one of my favorite food blogs, 101 Cookbooks. The process of making authentic pesto involves a lot of chopping. I must confess I don't own a single good knife. When I moved in with my husband, he owned a good set of knives. He took them with him when he moved out. Nough said. My single knife is a $3 bargain that I picked up after he left from, ugh, yeah...Walmart. Yes, that is my El Cheapo knife in the photo below. I chopped and chopped the best I could and here I hang my head in shame, unable to look all the Italian grandmothers in the eye. I resorted to my little food processor to finish the chopping. You just gotta work with what you have. It still tasted delicious.


1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3 medium cloves of garlic
one small handful of raw pine nuts
roughly 3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and FRESHLY GRATED
A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Start by chopping the garlic, then add in the basil leaves in small bunches and continue chopping. Once you have the basil and garlic chopped fairly consistently, add in the pine nuts and chop some more.  Here is where I resorted to the food processor. Add all the chopped ingredients into the food processor with the Parmesan cheese. Pulse until all ingredients are chopped. Do not over process. You want it to remain fairly course, not a fine paste. Scrape into small bowl and add olive oil. I used about 4 tablespoons to get the desired consistency I wanted.

For more detailed directions on how to make pesto like an Italian grandma, visit 101 Cookbooks. No food processors, but plenty of sharp knives.


  1. Yum! Fresh pesto is -the best-! 101 Cookbooks is a regular read for me. :)

  2. Wendy, thanks for showing The Hippy Homemaker some blog love :-) 101 Cookbooks should be on everyone's list of food blogs they visit regularly. Glad to see it is on your list.

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