Basil Magic: Pesto!

Do you have a lot of basil growing in the garden this year? If yes, take basil and magically turn it into pesto! Basil pesto is easy to make and only requires a few basic ingredients.

Basil offers gardeners unique flavors and varieties including holy basil, cinnamon basil, purple or opal basil and more. The classic type grown is the sweet basil. To make the best pesto, harvest leaves in the morning when oils are at their peak and take inside to the kitchen to process. Wash freshly harvested leaves under cool running water to remove any dirt and cut leaves from the stem. Put leaves in a salad spinner to remove excess water and spin dry.

Culinary Herb Basil
Culinary Herb Basil

Now, it is time to prepare the pesto! Take 1 cup of fresh basil and place it in a food processor. Next, add 3 tablespoons of roasted walnuts or pine nuts, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, and 2 to 3 cloves of garlic on top of the basil in the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine ingredients and then slowly add in olive oil until a smooth paste consistency.

Use freshly made basil pesto in soup, pasta, fish, or served on top of toasted bread. Store any leftover pesto in a closed container in the refrigerator for one week. Pesto is also good to freeze and then use when needed.

Basil pesto sauce
Freshly made Basil Pesto

For other ideas on how to use fresh basil this season, check out these recipes from our Plate it Up! Kentucky Proud project that give suggestions on how to use basil as an appetizer, entrée, pasta, salad, and vegetable dish.

Tomato basil bruschetta:

Mozzarella basil chicken with roasted grape tomatoes:

Herbed pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes:

Fresh corn salad:

Tomato basil salad:

Enjoy! Happy Gardening!

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