How To Make Pesto Recipe Serious Eats Quick

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Pesto. The vibrant green sauce synonymous with summer, pasta, and flavor explosions. But achieving that restaurant-quality pesto at home can seem daunting. Fear not, pesto enthusiasts! This guide, inspired by Serious Eats’ phenomenal recipe, breaks down the process into simple steps, ensuring you whip up a batch of incredibly delicious pesto in no time.

Fresh, High-Quality Ingredients: The Foundation of Flavor

Pesto Pasta With Potatoes and Green Beans
Pesto Pasta With Potatoes and Green Beans

Great pesto starts with great ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves: Freshness is key! Vibrant green leaves with no brown spots or wilting are ideal.

  • ⅓ cup pine nuts: These add a nutty richness. Toasting them beforehand intensifies the flavor, but it’s not essential.
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese: A salty, umami punch. Opt for freshly grated cheese for the best experience.
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled: Fresh garlic adds a pungent bite.
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil: High-quality olive oil is crucial for a smooth, flavorful base.
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt: Adjust to taste.
  • Freshly ground black pepper: A sprinkle adds depth.

  • Simple Steps to Pesto Perfection

    Now, let’s get saucy!

    1. Toast the Pine Nuts (Optional): Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown and fragrant. This takes about 3-5 minutes, so watch closely to avoid burning. Transfer to a plate to cool.
    2. Process the Garlic and Parmesan: In a food processor, add the garlic and Parmesan cheese. Pulse a few times until finely chopped.
    3. Add the Basil: Add the fresh basil leaves to the food processor. Pulse a few times until roughly chopped.
    4. Incorporate the Nuts and Oil: Add the pine nuts (if using) and olive oil to the food processor. Process until a relatively smooth consistency is achieved. You can stop here for a chunky pesto, or keep processing for a smoother texture.
    5. Season to Taste: Add the salt and black pepper. Pulse briefly to combine, then scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    Congratulations! You’ve just made a batch of incredibly flavorful pesto.

    Pesto Power: Nutritional Information

    A 2-tablespoon serving of pesto contains roughly:

    Calories: 180

  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 130mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Protein: 3g

  • Please note: This is an estimate and can vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.

    Beyond the Bowl: Creative Pesto Uses

    Pesto’s versatility extends far beyond pasta dishes. Here are some creative ways to enjoy your homemade pesto:

    Dollop it on toasted bread or bruschetta.

  • Mix it with mayonnaise for a flavorful sandwich spread.
  • Stir it into scrambled eggs or omelets.
  • Thin it with a little olive oil and use it as a veggie dip.
  • Drizzle it over grilled chicken, fish, or tofu.
  • Use it as a pizza sauce for a quick and delicious gourmet pizza.

  • Frequently Asked Pesto Questions:

    1. Can I substitute other nuts for pine nuts? Absolutely! Walnuts, cashews, or almonds are all great alternatives.
    2. My pesto is too brown. What went wrong? Exposure to air can cause browning. To prevent this, make sure to use a good quality olive oil and store your pesto in an airtight container with a layer of olive oil on top.
    3. How long can I store homemade pesto? Fresh pesto will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for longer storage.
    4. My pesto is too thick. What can I do? Thin it out with a little more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.
    5. I don’t have a food processor. Can I still make pesto? Yes, although it will be a little chunkier. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the garlic, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts together. Then, chop the basil leaves finely and incorporate them with the other ingredients.