My husband and I love pasta. It’s our go-to when having friends over on week nights because it’s so easy, quick and I mean come on, who doesn’t adore a great pasta dish? If we’re feeling extra fancy, we’ll make homemade pasta (that’s usually a Sunday undertaking), but we always make our sauces from scratch. It makes such a difference to take the extra few minutes to make it from the ground up. Trust me, your guests will not only be impressed by your next-level sauce making abilities, but will appreciate the added effort!
While I enjoy trying new sauces, my hubby will always go to pesto. We tend to make it at least once a month. This simple, crowd-pleasing recipe is one we’ve tried and tested many times. We finally found exactly the right recipe that makes our taste buds sing!
Pesto is a wonderful combination of just a few simple, yet flavorful, ingredients. Pesto starts with basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. How you combine them is the fun part!
In our search for the besto pesto (see what I did there??), we’ve discovered a few things. First, we haven’t been able to tell a big enough difference between toasted and regular pine nuts so, to save on time and dish washing, we don’t toast our nuts.
Second, blender speed matters. We’ve always used our favorite kitchen tool, a Vitamix Blender to make pesto. In our first attempts, we would crank the blender to a high setting right off the bat. While this would save on time, the color would be a very dark, green. One of my favorite parts of pesto is that delicious, vibrant, green color. It turns out, we were basically burning the basil which caused the dark color and resulted in a slightly bitter taste. Now, I blend the basil at the lowest setting until completely combined. At the very end, I’ll increase the speed gradually to reach a delightfully smooth and creamy consistency.
And finally, salt is king. The more I cook, the more I’ve come to realize that salt really can be the difference between a bland dish and a tantalizing meal. I always recommend salting your food to your taste. Your guests can always add more if they need. If you feel there is something missing from your dish, a pinch of salt may be the key.
Now lets get to it!
Quick and Easy Basil Pesto
- Vitamix Blender
- 2 Lrg. Bunches Basil
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil extra virgin
- 1/4 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Make sure to wash the basil and pick off any and all leaves, discard the stems. In your blender, add pine nuts and minced garlic first. Add Basil leaves on top.
- Put the lid on your blender but remove the lid plug. Begin slowly adding the olive oil. Turn your blender on to the first setting. The pine nuts and garlic should start to blend first and the basil leaves will slowly be incorporated. This process usually lasts around a minute.
- Once combined, increase the speed of the blender until you reach the highest setting, around 10-15 seconds. This will create a fine and creamy consistency. Be sure not to leave the blender on high for too long or you may encounter the dreaded dark-green catastrophe we talked about earlier.
- Play around with your blender’s settings to find the consistency you like best. I really love a super fine pesto, so increasing the speed at the end is a must for me. You may like larger chunks of basil which can completely transform the look and texture of a dish! I encourage you to find what makes your pallet happy.
- Transfer your blended goodness to a small mixing bowl. Add in the grated parmesan cheese (ps, have you ever grated parm in your vitamix??), salt and pepper to taste. Give your pesto a good stir to combine, et voila!