Gourmet Made Deliciously Simple

Big Batch Basil Pesto

Stock your freezer with big batch basil pesto from scratch. This classic pesto recipe requires only 6 ingredients, but will be enough for more than 8 meals!

Stock your freezer with big batch basil pesto from scratch. This classic pesto recipe requires only 6 ingredients, but will be enough for more than 8 meals!

Imagine it’s 6pm on a Wednesday. After a long busy day, you’re greeted with hungry faces, wondering what’s for dinner. Yeah, what is for dinner?

If you’re like me, you’re not always on top of the game and plan ahead dinner menu for a week. Kudos to you, meal planning pros! (Share your tips!)

But let’s be honest, we all have those nights when we have absolutely no clue what to serve. And those of us who has no place to call for meal delivery are out of luck!!

Unless you have a stash of pesto in your freezer! Then you’re in luck, my friend.

If you’ve been around here before, you know how much I love my pesto. I smother my salmon with pesto. Love pesto on my pizza crust. Chicken meatballs are amazeballs with pesto! And of course, pesto pasta is just to die for every single time, not to mention how easy it is!

“When in doubt, add some pesto” is basically my life motto! Haha But all joking aside, pesto comes in handy on those nights, when we have no dinner plans whatsoever. Boil up some pasta and toss it with pesto. Bonus, if you have some leftover chicken!

And because I love pesto so much, every fall I make my big batch basil pesto to freeze. And when I say big batch, I really mean that. You’re going to need 10 cups of packed basil leaves, but you’ll get like __ cups of deliciously fragrant fresh basil in return, enough for __ meals. It’ll be your best friend on many nights when you have absolutely no clue what to cook.

Couple of tips
  1. You need a big food processor. I used my 14-cup Cuisinart food processor, which is perfect size for this recipe.
  2. Toast those pine nuts for extra flavor. I promise, it won’t overpower the sauce. You could substitute walnuts, but I think splurging on pine nuts is totally worth it.
  3. I’m a garlic lover, and I use a lot of it. If you’re not a fan, feel free to reduce it by half. But keep in mind, this pesto is not garlicky as is. Or you can toast the garlic cloves with skin-on for about 5 minutes on medium heat to reduce the pungency.
  4. Use quality parmesan cheese. It’s best to buy a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano and grate it yourself. And don’t even think about using the stuff from the green container. You’ll taste the difference. You can also use Romano or Pecorino cheeses for a little more cheesy kick, but I simply use Parmigiano-Reggiano, as I always have it on hand.
  5. Slowly add olive oil into the chopped basil, nut and garlic mixture while the processor is running for creamier and well-immulsified sauce.

Classic pesto recipe with step by step photos

Pesto freezes really well. And if you freeze them in small portions, it’s even easier to use later on.

Stock your freezer with big batch basil pesto from scratch. This classic pesto recipe requires only 6 ingredients, but will be enough for more than 8 meals!

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Big Batch Basil Pesto

Stock your freezer with big batch basil pesto from scratch. This classic pesto recipe requires only 6 ingredients, but will be enough for more than 8 meals!

Yield: About 5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (140gr) pine nuts
  • 1 head of garlic (about 15 garlic cloves)
  • 10 cups packed basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups (480ml) olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions:

  1. In a medium skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful not to burn them. Cool slightly.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves by smashing them with a flat side of the knife.
  3. In a large (14-cup) food processor, place the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic and salt.
  4. Process it until smooth.
  5. While the processor is still running, slowly add olive oil.
  6. Add grated parmesan and process for another 30 seconds or so.
  7. Fresh pesto should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  8. To freeze the pesto, you can pour the prepared pesto into a freezer bag, squeeze all the air out and flatten it. It’s easier to break a small chunk out, or defrost it, when it’s nice and flat like that. OR you can divide the pesto into ice cube tray, and once frozen completely transfer the pesto cubes into a large freezer bag to store. The frozen pesto is good for up to 6 months.

For step-by-step photos and additional tips, read the post above.

Use about 1/2- 2/3 cup of pesto sauce per 1lb of pasta.

All images and text ©Shinee D. for Sweet & Savory by Shinee

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And here’s the full list of my favorite recipes using pesto:

3-Ingredient Bacon Wrapped Fingerling Potatoes
How to Bake Perfect Salmon
Pesto Artichoke Dip
Pesto Ricotta Stuffed Pasta Shells
Roasted Tomato Pesto Pizza
Pesto Mozzarella Chicken Meatballs
Pesto Mushroom Tortellini
Pesto Chicken Rolls with Asparagus

Stock your freezer with big batch basil pesto from scratch. This classic pesto recipe requires only 6 ingredients, but will be enough for more than 8 meals!

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6 comments

  1. Great recipe though we needed to add more salt at the end to make the flavor pop – about double what the recipe calls for.

    Rating: 4
  2. This was great! My basil has really done well this year with the amount of rain we’ve had in the northeast of PA and 10 cups was one whole plant for me. I did increase the garlic (who doesn’t like garlic) and decreased the salt just a bit, but other than that I was licking the bowl leftovers :)Thanks for the recipe!

    Rating: 5
    • Hi, Ellen!! Lucky you with all that basil harvest!! So glad you made this pesto and loved it. You’re going to enjoy it more once the weather turns. 🙂

  3. Thanks for this recipe. Winter will be a bit sunnier with this on hand. I have a question: did you use the Basil stems? 

    • Hi, Dino. No, I don’t usually add the stems, unless it’s thin ones. It really is convenient to have these in the freeze. Adds ton of fresh summer flavors. 😉

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