Homemade Pesto

Who knew something seemingly so complicated was actually quite an easy and toddler-friendly kitchen project to do together? Our neighbor (who has a plot at our local community garden) had more basil than she could use, so she gave us a bunch. It was finally my opportunity to try making pesto myself.

I first did a bit of internet research and although we have a food processor, I decided to take the advice of this site and chop the basil by hand (Jax is scared of the noise of kitchen gadgets). It didn’t take very long, actually, and was the perfect activity to do while Jax smashed the pine nuts with the mortar and pestle.

What you need:
~a big bunch of basil (see photo below)
~pine nuts (about 1/2 cup)
~olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
~freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1/8 cup)

What to do:
Smash the pine nuts with the mortar and pestle and finely chop the basil leaves.

As soon as Jax sees the camera he wants to reach out and “see Jax” on the screen.

In a bowl, combine the nuts and leaves and add olive oil and parmesan until the pesto reaches the desired consistency.

The pesto is ready to use!

We used it on chicken breasts pan fried with a tad more olive oil. The beauty of such a recipe is that it doesn’t matter if the proportions are off or if some of the leaves and nuts remain whole in the finished product. You can leave out the parmesan (recommended if you want to freeze the pesto) or replace the pine nuts with walnuts (something my sister swears by). You can use it like a meat rub, as we did, or mix it in to simple pasta. Jax loved the chicken, albeit without the chunky parts of the pesto. But a success all around, I’d say.

Buon apetito!

3 thoughts on “Homemade Pesto

  1. I love that you’re already cooking together – what a perfect project! I also can’t believe how big he’s getting. His face looks so much older. What a handsome boy!

  2. That’s fun that Jax got to help! Looks delicious!!
    When I made pesto recently, I sauteed some mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes. Then I served it over bowtie pasta and put a mound of pesto on top. A very yummy vegetarian variation! And yes, walnuts are really good as a substitute since pine nuts are sometimes hard to find and can be pricey.

  3. I love making pesto. Mostly because I can alter the evoo- I like to use a bit less than most recipes. And you can use other nuts- I use walnuts a lot because they are less expensive. Oh and it freezes great too so you can have fresh pesto mid winter too!

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