How To Make Basil Pesto At Home

Hey everyone! Are you looking for a delicious, easy-to-make pasta dish that is sure to impress? Well then look no further than this homemade basil pesto recipe. I’m Monty Don and today I’m here to show you how to make it yourself in your own kitchen. This tasty sauce will be the perfect accompaniment to any dinner or lunchtime meal, bringing with it an air of sophistication – as well as a sense of belonging for all involved. So come along on this culinary journey with me and let’s get started!

Preparing The Ingredients

I’m here today to tell you all about making the perfect basil pesto at home! It’s really simple and fun, plus it tastes great. So let me get you started on your way towards deliciousness.

The first step is prepping your ingredients: chopping garlic and mincing fresh basil. To chop the garlic, take a clove of garlic and use a sharp knife to cut off the top end of each clove so that it can be peeled away easily. Then roll the cloves back and forth to break them apart into individual pieces before finely slicing them up with a chef’s knife or cleaver. For best results, keep your slices thin for maximum flavor release when cooked.

When mincing basil leaves, start by taking two large handfuls of whole leaves from their stems, then place them in between two paper towels – this helps prevent bruising while they are being chopped up. Now grab a pair of kitchen shears (scissors will work too) and snip the herbs until they are very fine – like tiny confetti! And there you have it – now you’re ready to make some amazing pesto recipes!

Toasting The Pine Nuts

I’m going to make a delicious basil pesto at home and to do that I’ll need some toasted pine nuts. Preparing pine nuts before toasting is essential – make sure you’ve removed any debris and washed them under cold water. Toasting pine nuts is easy – simply spread them out on a baking tray and bake on a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on them as they can quickly burn. Once toasted, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place – they’ll stay fresh for up to six months. Let’s get toasting and make some delicious pesto!

Preparing Pine Nuts

When it comes to making the perfect pesto, choosing the right pine nuts is an important step. I recommend buying them in bulk as they tend to be cheaper that way, and you can store them for several months. However, if you’re able to source fresh ones from a local grocer then that’s even better! Once you’ve got your pine nuts, it’s time to toast them – this helps bring out their natural flavor and gives the pesto some extra depth of taste. To do this, heat a dry pan on medium-high heat before adding your pine nuts; stir them constantly until they turn golden brown – this should take around five minutes or so. Doing this really elevates the dish and makes all the difference!

Toasting Pine Nuts

Toasting pine nuts is an essential step in achieving the perfect pesto. It’s important to choose the right kind of nut, as many varieties exist – from Cashews to Almonds and Pecans. But if you’re after something a little more special for your dish, then I’d recommend using Pine Nuts. Once you’ve got them sorted, it’s time to toast them up! Heat a dry pan on medium-high heat before adding your pine nuts; stir them constantly until they turn golden brown – this should take around five minutes or so. Doing this really elevates the flavor of the dish and brings out those earthy aromas that make us drool with anticipation! Not only does toasting give the pesto added depth of taste but also adds texture which makes each bite even more enjoyable. So don’t forget – when prepping for pesto perfection, don’t skip out on toasting those pine nuts!

Storing Pine Nuts

Once you’ve chosen and bought the perfect pine nuts, it’s time to store them correctly. After all, if you don’t store your ingredients properly they won’t last nearly as long – so make sure you get this step right! I recommend keeping your pine nuts in an airtight container away from direct sunlight; this will ensure that their flavour remains intact for months at a time. Additionally, keep them away from moisture or heat sources such as ovens or stoves, as this can cause them to become rancid quickly. With these simple steps, you’ll be able to enjoy those delicious aromas of freshly-toasted pine nuts every time you cook up a batch of pesto! So remember: when buying and handling pine nuts always think ahead – proper storage is key!

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Blending The Ingredients

After toasting the pine nuts, it’s time for blending all the ingredients together. The classic recipe involves grinding garlic and basil in a mortar before adding parmesan cheese and olive oil. This combination of flavors has been around since ancient times: In Italy alone, over 40 million kilograms of pesto is consumed each year!

To get started with making your own variation, there are several techniques you can try when grinding the ingredients – from using a traditional mortar and pestle to an electric blender or food processor. Of course, this will also depend on what kind of texture you want in your finished dish – if you like a chunky pesto then stick with a mortar and pestle; however, if you prefer something smoother then use a blender or food processor instead. Here are some other tips to consider when creating your perfect batch of homemade pesto:

  • Choose flavorful herbs such as parsley or oregano along with basil
  • Consider flavoring options such as crushed red pepper flakes or roasted sun-dried tomatoes
  • Use high quality extra virgin olive oil for optimal flavor

Monty Don suggests experimenting with different ratios of garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and herbs until you find the flavor that suits your palate best. By tweaking these amounts, you can create various versions of delicious homemade pestos – so don’t be afraid to experiment!

Adding Olive Oil

Making basil pesto at home is a wonderfully rewarding experience! I love infusing flavors together and creating something that’s truly delicious.

The next step after gathering your ingredients is to add olive oil. This helps blend everything together and creates the perfect consistency for our pesto. Start by pouring in around 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. You can always adjust this depending on how thick or thin you want it, so don’t worry if you think it looks like too much! As you pour the oil into the blender, use a spoon to mix the ingredients together gently – this will help ensure that all of your ingredients are properly mixed.

After adding in the olive oil, sprinkle over some salt (I recommend sea salt) to bring out more flavor from your pesto. Give everything one last stir before tasting and adjusting any seasoning as necessary. With just a few simple steps we’re well on our way to making an amazing homemade pesto – now let’s get blending!

Grating The Parmesan Cheese

When making basil pesto at home, you’ll need to grate Parmesan cheese, so it’s important to know the type of cheese you’re using and the best tools for grating it. I’m a big fan of using Parmigiano Reggiano for this, as it gives the pesto a nice creamy flavour. For the best results, I’d recommend using a Microplane grater – it’s quick and easy, and you’ll get great, fine results. Have fun grating your cheese!

Types Of Cheese

When it comes to making a delicious pesto sauce, the type of cheese you use can make all the difference. When grating Parmesan cheese for your pesto, it is important to consider what kind of flavors you want in your end dish and how they will pair with other ingredients. While traditional recipes call for full-fat hard Italian cheeses such as Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, there are plenty of vegan and plant-based options available that provide just as much flavor. For instance, nutritional yeast or cashews can be used to create a creamy texture while adding umami and depth to your dish. Additionally, pairing cheeses like aged Pecorino Romano can add a salty sharpness that compliments basil perfectly. Whatever cheese you choose for your homemade pesto recipe, remember balance is key when it comes to putting together an unforgettable plate!

Grating Tools

When it comes to making a delicious pesto sauce, the type of cheese you use can make all the difference – and with grating Parmesan cheese being such an essential part of this process, having the right tools is key. Choosing the best nut selection for your recipe is equally as important, but don’t worry! With some practice using a quality grater or even a traditional pestle technique, you’ll be able to find just the perfect texture for your dish. As we’ve seen in previous steps, there are plenty of vegan and plant-based options available too; so no matter which cheese you choose, you’re sure to create something special that will tantalize everyone’s taste buds. So get out there and start experimenting with different cheeses and tools – soon enough you’ll have mastered the art of creating gourmet dishes with ease!

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Finishing Touches

As we come to the end of our journey into making homemade basil pesto, it’s time for some finishing touches. It is often said that a dish can be only as good as its ingredients, and when it comes to something like pesto, this theory proves itself true. Pesto is all about combining flavors together in harmony – pairing ideas such as fresh basil with fragrant garlic and salty pine nuts – so getting your seasonings just right is essential.

There are plenty of ways you can go here depending on what kind of flavor variations you’re after. If you want your pesto to have more of a kick then adding extra red chili flakes or even a spoonful of capers could work wonders. On the other hand if you’d prefer something milder then introducing lemon zest or a teaspoon of sugar will help achieve this balance. Whatever route you decide to take though remember not to overdo it – the key is finding that perfect middle ground between subtlety and boldness.

And there you have it! A delicious bowlful of homemade basil pesto ready for whatever culinary creation takes your fancy – from pasta dishes to salads, pizzas and sandwiches; the possibilities really are endless! So get creative and enjoy experimenting in the kitchen until you find that special recipe that tastes just right for you!

Serving Suggestions

Grilled vegetables are a great accompaniment to basil pesto. You can either serve it over the vegetables, or mix it into them. For a delicious pasta dish, try tossing it with some cooked spaghetti. Finally, don’t forget to sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top – it’ll take it to the next level!

Grilled Vegetables

Grilling vegetables is a great way to bring out the sweetness of their natural flavour. I love marinating my vegetables for an hour or two beforehand, as it helps them absorb all those wonderful flavours and makes them so much more succulent when cooked. You can prepare your vegetables in advance too by cutting them into bite size pieces, tossing them with some oil and herbs and leaving them to rest until you’re ready to cook. Stir frying also works really well for grilling vegetables – just add your favourite spices or sauces to give them even more punch! Nothing beats freshly grilled veggies served straight off the barbecue – they’re perfectly aromatic and deliciously smoky. There’s nothing better than gathering around a table full of tantalisingly charred veggie dishes with friends and family!

Pasta Dishes

Pasta dishes are a wonderful way to get creative in the kitchen, and there’s so much you can do with them! Whether it’s sautéing or boiling your pasta, you can really tailor it to your own tastes. I love adding different flavour variations into my pasta – like garlic, tomatoes, herbs and cheese – as they create unique combinations that will tantalise anyone’s taste buds. Cooking methods can also help bring out the best flavours of this classic dish; for example, baking is great if you’re looking for something creamy and cheesy whereas stir frying gives a more intense flavour. Lastly, don’t forget about sauces – from marinara to pesto, there’s an array of delicious options available which will truly elevate any pasta dish. With all these cooking techniques and flavors up your sleeve, you’ll be sure to impress everyone around the dinner table!

Storage Tips

Storing your homemade basil pesto for future use is easy and can be done in a variety of ways. Firstly, you can freeze it to ensure that it lasts longer. Place spoonfuls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place the tray into the freezer until they are frozen solid before transferring them to an airtight container. This way, you’ll get individual portions whenever you need some fresh pesto!

If you want to make larger quantities of pesto all at once that will last over several weeks or months, try storing it in jars or containers filled with olive oil. Simply add enough oil so that the surface of the pesto is completely covered as this helps prevent oxidation and bacteria growth before sealing and keeping refrigerated. If you find yourself running low on ingredients such as pine nuts, parmesan cheese or garlic, feel free to substitute them for something else like walnuts or almonds instead!

When selecting herbs for your pesto recipe, look for those with vibrant green leaves and stems as these usually have more flavor than older ones which may have started wilting already. Also remember not to overcrowd your pan when cooking – too many herbs will mean less flavor intensity per serving. With some simple steps and a bit of forward planning, you’ll soon be able to enjoy delicious homemade basil pesto any time you please!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Basil Should I Use To Make This Pesto?

When it comes to making the perfect basil pesto, using fresh, high-quality ingredients is key. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a bountiful herb garden, then freshly picked leaves are ideal for this recipe. However, if you buy your herbs from a store or market, always choose the freshest looking bunch of basil that’s available and make sure to use it within three days of purchase. Storage solutions like wrapping in paper towels or storing in an airtight container can help keep your basil at its peak of freshness before cooking. By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a full flavored and aromatic basil pesto every time!

How Much Pesto Will This Recipe Make?

Making your own pesto at home is a delicious treat and can make enough to last you for several meals. The portion size of the homemade basil pesto recipe will depend on how much you’re looking to make, but it’s generally around 8-10 servings. To store any extra, simply pop it into an airtight container or jar in the fridge – it’ll stay fresh and full of flavor for up to two weeks. If you’re not planning on using all of the pesto within this time frame then freeze what remains; that way it won’t spoil and you can enjoy its wonderful taste whenever you like!

How Can I Adjust The Flavour Of The Pesto?

Want to adjust the flavour of your pesto? Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! To start, try adding a pinch of salt. This will help bring out the natural flavours in your dish. You could also experiment with other ingredients like herbs and spices – just remember not to go overboard as this can overwhelm the taste. Finally, don’t forget to do some taste-testing along the way so that you know when the flavour is perfect for you! With these tips, you’ll soon find yourself with a delicious basil pesto that hits all the right notes.

Are There Any Health Benefits Of Eating Basil Pesto?

Cooking with basil pesto can be a great way to get the health benefits of this delicious condiment. Not only is it rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – but also has an array of cooking methods that make it versatile. Whether you use store-bought or home-made ingredients, you’ll find that basil pesto adds flavour to all kinds of dishes while still providing essential nutrition. So why not give it a try? You won’t regret adding this tasty ingredient into your cooking repertoire!

How Long Will The Pesto Last In The Fridge?

Storing pesto at home doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you follow a few simple tips, your homemade basil pesto will last for up to two weeks in the fridge! To maximize its shelf life, store it in an airtight container or jar and cover with a thin layer of olive oil before sealing. If stored properly, this delicious condiment will remain fresh and full of flavour until you’re ready to use it – so there’s no need to worry about wasting time or ingredients making more than one batch. Plus, by storing it correctly, you can enjoy the health benefits of eating basil pesto whenever the mood strikes!


Finally, basil pesto is a delicious and nutritious way to add flavour and texture to your cooking. It’s no wonder that I can often be found with a jar of this fragrant sauce in my fridge! Making it at home is surprisingly easy; all you need are the right ingredients and some time for stirring. With just a few simple steps and adjustments, you’ll be able to create an Italian-inspired dish that will leave even the most experienced chef impressed!

It almost seems too good to be true – but there’s nothing like the taste of homemade basil pesto! So go ahead; give it a try and discover why this classic condiment has been beloved by generations. You won’t regret taking the time to make your own, as not only will you reap its health benefits – but also have fun creating something truly unique each time.