The ability to use fresh ingredients can take a recipe to the next level. One of my favorite things about visiting my mom in Vermont are her amazing gardens. This summer she planted a bunch of basil plants that have absolutely taken off, so the last time I was up there I took the opportunity to throw together a couple of batches of homemade pesto. Making the pesto itself is very easy ( I used Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe which you’ll find below) but I came up with a couple of tips along the way that I thought I would share.
1. There apparently is a specific way you should trim basil plants, who knew? (my mom) According to my mother the proper way of trimming your fresh basil plant is to cut the stem you’re looking to remove as close to the main stem as possible. If you just pick the leaves off, or don’t trim the basil closely enough there is less of a chance that the basil you picked will grow back in that area (sad).
2. Drizzle the top of your pesto with olive oil. This will help the pesto remain fresh, plus, it will help it from drying out in the refrigerator. Also, if you’ve never made homemade pesto it is a sauce that once made needs to be kept refrigerated due to the freshness of the ingredients!
3. It’s super easy to make your pesto look like something you bought at a country store. I happened to have some mason jars in my basement which you can buy at pretty much any grocery store. After spooning the pesto into the jar I took an old napkin that my mom had around the house and I cut a small square from it.
As you can see there is no need to make the edges very straight because once the fabric is in the lid you won’t notice the edges. A mason jar lid has two parts so just fasten the small disk onto the jar and then put the fabric on top of that. Screw the top part of the lid over the fabric and voila! Your very own homemade, and very cute, jar of pesto!
Yummy Pesto Recipe:
- 2 Cups basil
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (be careful when toasting these they burn fast!)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend!!