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!
You know what saves the night when you have no idea what to cook for dinner and it’s 5pm? PESTO!
Just cook some pasta, toss it with pesto and
sprinkle loaded it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Voila! Delicious dinner served! Bonus, if you have leftover chicken!
“When in doubt, add some pesto” is basically my life motto! Haha But all joking aside, pesto comes to the rescue all the time!
And that’s why every fall I make a huge batch of basil pesto to freeze. And when I say a big batch, I really mean that. You’re going to need 10 cups of packed basil leaves, but you’ll get ton of deliciously fragrant fresh basil in return, enough for many, many meals.
TIPS TO MAKE BIG-BATCH BASIL PESTO:
- You need a big food processor. I used my 14-cup Cuisinart food processor, which is perfect size for this recipe.
- 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.
- I’m a garlic lover, and I use a lot of it. If you’re not a garlic fan (who are you?), 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.
- 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.
- Slowly add olive oil into the chopped basil, nut and garlic mixture while the processor is running for creamier and well-immulsified sauce.
CAN I FREEZE BASIL PESTO?
Yes, absolutely. Pesto freezes really well.
- Divide the pesto into ice cube tray, or this silicone baby food mold (nowadays, it’s Instant Pot egg mold) and freeze.
- Once completely frozen, remove pesto blocks from the mold and store in a ziplock bag.
Big Batch Basil Pesto
- 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
- 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.
- Peel the garlic cloves by smashing them with a flat side of the knife.
- In a large (14-cup) food processor, place the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic and salt.
- Process it until smooth.
- While the processor is still running, slowly add olive oil.
- Add grated parmesan and process for another 30 seconds or so.
- Fresh pesto should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- There're 2 ways you can freeze your pesto sauce.
- 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.
- Divide the pesto into ice cube tray, or this silicone mold (<- I prefer this mold, because it makes bigger pesto chunks). Once frozen completely transfer the pesto cubes into a large freezer bag to store. The frozen pesto is good for up to 6 months.
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
This post was originally published on September 15, 2016.