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!

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!

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!

“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:

  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 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.
  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

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.

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. There’re 2 ways you can freeze your pesto sauce. 
    1. 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.
    2. 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.

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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All photographs and content on Sweet & Savory by Shinee is copyright protected, unless otherwise noted. Please do not use any of my photos without my authorization. If you would like to share my recipe, you may re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the full directions. Thank you for your cooperation!

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.

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. 😉