It’s that time of year when summer is starting to fade and the garden is bursting with basil ready for picking! The best way I’ve found to preserve all that basil for the winter months is to make pesto and store it in the freezer. This way you will have pesto whenever you crave it during the winter months!
I feel like I’ve consumed so much pesto this year compared to any other year! The basil was definitely thriving! This year I planted my basil from seed and from 5 plants I got a lot of basil!
Just look how beautiful these leaves look! I’m really going to miss the basil in the colder months BUT we will still have pesto!
Making the Pesto
Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts, but pine nuts are expensive and walnuts make such a great substitute! I love the flavour they bring to the pesto. The warm and nutty flavour really livens up the dish you put it in.
First, we are going to start with the walnuts in the food processor. I found this the best way to start of with the pesto, especially in an older food processor – the one I’m using is properly from the late ’80s!
After the addition of the garlic, we added the basil. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until well combined. Taste the pesto and adjust where needed.
I don’t like to add too much oil initially. I will add some extra oil on the top of the pesto in the container before storing it in the freezer. This is just a preference, you can add more oil while making the pesto if you would like it to be more liquidity.
How to store
Anytime I make fresh pesto, I always portion it off and store it in the freezer. I found this the best way for longevity place them in 1/2 cup Rubbermaid freezer save container, top them with olive oil and freeze! Anytime I want to use pesto for the week, I will pull it out of the freezer on Monday morning to defrost and will be ready to use in a couple of hours for the rest of the week.
How to use
You can use this in so many ways! I usually make pasta with it BUT you can do so much.
- Pizza base
- Pizza topping
- In a sandwich
- In a salad
In everything pretty much!
Simple Basil Pesto with Walnuts
- Food Processor
- ¾ cup Walnut Halves
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 cups Basil Leaves washed, dried and stems removed
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- ½ tsp Sea Salt to taste
- 1-2 tbsp Lemon Juice to taste
Orecchiette Pasta with Pesto
- 2 cups Orecchiette Pasta
- 2-3 tbsp Pesto
- 1/2 cup Pasta Water
- Olive Oil as needed
- In a food processor, add in your walnuts and long pulse for 10 seconds. You want the walnuts to be a small grain texture.
- Add in the peeled garlic cloves and pulse with walnuts until well combined.
- While pulsing the walnuts with garlic, start adding in the olive oil.
- Add the basil leaves to the food processor and pulse until the basil is combined with the other ingredients. Depending on your food processor, you may have to stop and scrape down the sides before continuing.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor. Blend until well combined, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed.
- Taste the pesto, add salt and lemon juice as needed. You can also add in more olive if needed, but I will add more olive oil to the container that I'm storing it into or add olive oil when cooking with the pesto.
- To store, place into 1/2 cup freezer-safe containers and top with some olive oil. Seal with lid and place in freezer for up to six months.
- To defrost for use, place in the fridge to defrost overnight.
To Make Orecchiette Pasta with Pesto
- Boil dry pasta in salted water – per box instructions
- Save 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining. Drain the pasta and place in a serving dish
- Drizzle over pasta with some olive oil and add in the pasta water and pesto.
- Combine well, the pesto will have a creamy consistency.
- Shave on some cheese and enjoy!