I did not grow up in a household where my parents cooked dinner with fresh, new and interesting ingredients every night, let alone make pesto. My mom did not teach me how to cook a meal like we both cook today. I seriously think she planned it that way, because she cooks now that I am all grown up and out of the house. I was taught how to boil water and use it for Macaroni & Cheese, TopRamen, or beans on toast. Not very exciting.
Dinner in my home was very predictable, Kielbasa and beans in the Crockpot, Shake & Bake everything, or on a special occasion, my mom would put a Cornish game hen in the Crockpot. It didn’t take long to get sick of Shake & Bake because EVERYTHING we ate was covered in that stuff. It was supposed to be a flavored bread-crumb style coating for meats, but it was more like eating a salt lick with a little bit of stale, dried oregano with bread in it. I am not exaggerating when I say EVERYTHING was covered in that stuff. After a while I was on my own for dinner. I honestly don’t even know what I ate besides TopRaman and frozen vegetables. Day after day with different flavors at only 19-cents a pack, this was a deal. I still to this day do not know how I am still alive after living on TopRaman for what seemed like years.
Fast forward to age 19, standing in my kitchen with my friend who just walked into my apartment carrying several bags filled with his own pots and pans, knives and all of the ingredients to cook a feast for me. I watched in amazement as he cooked with ease, without a recipe and without measuring cups. The experience was like going to Disneyland for the first time as a kid; my eyes were wide with amazement. Maybe he felt bad for me or maybe he had something against my choice of food, possibly a combination of both. From that point on, I was invited to his parent’s house every Sunday for cooking lessons on their weekly family dinners prepared by my friend. The Gin & Tonics his dad made were a bonus!
Pesto is one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen. It’s not just because it was the first thing I learned how to make, but because it is so easy and you can use it on just about anything, unlike Shake & Bake. Pesto has some of my favorite ingredients in it, basil, garlic, olive oil and cheese. All of which are versatile on their own, yet are combined to make this green magical sauce.
4 minPrep Time
4 minTotal Time
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 5 large garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 - 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Optional - freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
- Combine basil, garlic, and pine nuts, in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Slowly add half of the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
- Add the grated Parmesan cheese and the rest of the olive oil, pulse again until blended.
- Add a pinch freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste.
Please leave a comment below to let me know what you like serve with Pesto. Enjoy!