Lemony Basil Pesto
Lemony Basil Pesto! I could swim in this...
I have been on a major basil kick the past couple weeks. I bought a basil plant, and it has taken over my life...in a good way. Pesto is a great way to use up a lot of basil, and it opens the doors to so many recipes. I should also get a lemon tree, because I use lemon in so many things as well! The lemon in this pesto really brightens it up and makes it taste extra fresh. If you haven't used pine nuts much, you must! They are rich, creamy, and nutty, BUT they aren't nuts. Nope. I did my research and it turns out that pine nuts are, in fact, seeds. It's weird, I know, but peanuts aren't nuts and neither are coconuts. Who named these things? Anyway they are amazing!
A couple little things will make a huge difference in this recipe. Toast the pine nuts first, and it will bring out an extra layer of nutty flavor. Also, grate the cheese fresh before you puree everything together. I am not a huge fan of pre-grated cheese, because it looses flavor and dries out. Trust me on this one!
You can store this Lemony Basil Pesto in the fridge in a sealed container or freeze it. Having pesto in the freezer is very handy for a quick weeknight meal. Pesto is great in a number of dishes from pasta to pizza. I love to spread it on toast and top it with a fried egg and hot sauce for breakfast!
Lemony Basil Pesto
3 heaping cups fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
*Place the pine nuts in a shallow skillet over medium heat; tossing/stirring frequently
*Toast until the nuts are fragrant and slightly brown; careful, this can happen quickly
*Allow the pine nuts to cool
*Freshly grate the parmesan cheese using a food processor or hand grater
*Place the basil, grated cheese, cooled pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic cloves into a food processor
*Process all of the ingredients together for about 15 seconds
*With the mixer running slowly pour in the olive oil
*Add salt and pepper to taste
*Process again to mix
*If the pesto is too thick you can add more olive oil
*Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container
*You can also place the pesto in an ice cube tray; fill each cube with pesto; freeze; once frozen place them into a freezer safe plastic bag