Basil is one of summer’s most fragrant and easy to grow herbs. If you have an overabundance of basil, turn it into an amazing, classic pesto. We featured ours with shrimp and paired it with pasta for an easy summer meal.
Basil is one of those easy herbs that you can grow in a pot on your windowsill or let it take over an area in your backyard. Plant some in early spring, and by the heat of the summer you’ll have a big bushy plant to pick from into the fall. Basil likes to be trimmed back, so snip it often (weekly) to keep the plant strong and bushy. Basil is an easy herb to cook with, and a classic basil pesto is a great way to use up a lot of it. This pasta is perfect for summer, it’s an easy dish and making the pesto ahead of time will make for even less time in the kitchen. Make plenty of pasta and you’ll have lunch for the next day, because this makes a great cold pasta salad as well.
I used a very thin pasta, cappellini, but whatever you have on hand will work. Toss pesto with pasta, cooked shrimp and a quick shred of fresh parmesan and dinner is done. Marinate your shrimp in the pesto for extra flavor! And of course you can swap out the shrimp for chicken or just toss your pesto with noodles.
Extra pesto? Spread it on toast, bake it on chicken, mix into scrambled eggs or mashed potatoes, or use pesto to coat veggies before roasting them for extra flavor! Classic basil pesto will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. When storing, top the pesto with a layer of extra olive oil to preserve it. Basil pesto will also freeze beautifully, so make a large batch and save some for the colder seasons!
Classic Basil Pesto
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for storage
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 2 fresh garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano or Asiago cheese
- coarse sea salt to taste
In a blender or food processor add basil leaves (de-stemmed and roughly torn), pine nuts and garlic. Pulse gently to get a rough chop. Add half of the oil and blend until a smooth paste forms. Add cheese and remaining olive oil and blend further until smooth. Taste, adding additional salt as needed. Store by topping pesto with a layer of olive oil in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to 6 months.