Homemade green pesto is so easy and quick there really is no excuse for buying it in expensive jars. The one advantage the jar has is that it’s very convenient when you just need a spoonful or two. But if you adopt a good, economical freezing method (see Freezing below) that works well for you, then the answer is to make large batches of green pesto and then use your favourite method for freezing that gives you the quantities, small or large, you will need for later. Homemade green pesto also gives you better control over the toasting of your nuts, a factor which can vary the flavour.
- 1¾ ounces / 50g pine nuts
- 2¾ ounces / 80g fresh basil
- 1¾ ounces / 50g Parmesan, freshly grated
- 5¼ fluid ounces / 150ml olive oil
- 2 garlic clove, peeled
- sea salt
Lightly toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan over a low heat, shaking occasionally. Lightly toasting will preserve the creamy flavour, but if you want a more nutty flavour then toast them until they are golden.
Put the toasted pine nuts into a food processor along with the basil, Parmesan, garlic, and olive oil.
Process until smooth and season with a pinch of sea salt.
Generally, a recipe like this will provide more green pesto than you need at the time. Pesto will freeze well, and the various different methods you can use are all about the most practical ways of dividing up the quantity for use later, depending on what you might need it for. The most common method is to use an ice cube tray. This will provide handy ice-cubed sized lumps and you can easily slip out as many as you need. Just freeze them in an ice-cube tray first then bag them up.
Another method is to spoon quantities (we used 2 tablespoons pictured here) into freezer bags.
A third method is to line a small baking tray with waxed paper or baking parchment, then spread out the pesto evenly to about ¼-inch / 6mm thick, then gently press another sheet of waxed paper or parchment on top. Stick this in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up, then break up the sheet of pesto into shards small enough to fit into a freezer bag, and return to the freeze. Then, whenever you need it, open the bag and break off as much as you need.
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