Market Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

I love our Farmer’s Market. My husband and I have our own garden in the back, it feels like very year we have some things that grow amazing and other that don’t do a darn thing. And it’s never the same thing happening every year! So to fill in the gaps, this personal chef goes to the Farmer’s Market. I love to shop small businesses and support those around me and this is just one way I can do that.

I picked up pickling cucumbers for fermenting and green beans for pickling, some amazing red beets and the cherries…OMG!!! They are divine!

That’s not the only thing I brought home this week! Brown Family Farms is new to the market this year and they had some great produce. From across the way I could smell the fresh cut herbs and decided I wanted to make myself some pesto. So I bought a 4 oz of fresh basil and in my sack it went.

I got home and grabbed all the ingredients I needed for making pesto from scratch: Parmesan cheese (not pictured), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, pepper and of course my fresh Basil.

Hold up!! Garlic paste and lemon juice in bottles?! Yes, because that’s what I had at home already. Normally I would squeeze fresh lemons and get their zest (zest first, juice second, much easier than the other way around, haha!) and I would chop fresh garlic from the garden, but it’s not ready just yet. I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil because I wanted a lighter taste to my pesto. I really wanted the fresh basil to shine more so then the olive oil.

Being that our basil probably came out of the ground early in the am, make sure you wash it really well and give it a good dry too! That’s a great rule of thumb for any produce you purchase, wash it just before eating! I plucked all the stems off my basil, washed them under cold water and them placed them between paper towels to pat them dry very gently.

From here you can either roll them up in a clean set of paper towels and store them in the fridge for later use or you can starting making things with them right away, the choice is yours.

If your like me it’s on to the next step, blending! Take all your ingredients, oil included and place them in the cup. Screw on the blades (or if you are using a traditional blender, put on the lid).

When making pesto’s and salsa’s in the blender, I like to use the pulse setting more then just turning it on full blast and letting it go. You have better control of the consistency of your final product when you blend it slowly.
I can tell you it looks delicious, but you need to taste it. I take this second chance to really give it a good taste to see if the seasonings are correct. If you like it a bit more acidic add more lemon. If it needs more salt and pepper, go ahead and adjust it here.

The finished product is now ready for using in any dish you please, from a Caprese pasta salad that has lots of tomatoes and fresh baby mozzarella to a sauce over some baked salmon with steamed veggies an wild grains!

I store mine in the fridge in an air tight container and it lasts for up to 2 months. Basil pesto will change color from bright green to sort of a muddied green when exposed to air. It doesn’t means it’s bad, it’s just oxidized. With an air tight container, it’ll stay bright green! You can also transfer it to an ice cube tray and freeze little pucks for use later on. This method will give you 6-9 months of freshness.
Here’s the recipe with some optional ways of making it if you so desire.

Basil Pesto

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

Method:
Place all your ingredients in the blender. Process with pulsing for 2-3 second intervals until your desired consistency is reached. Adjust the seasoning as needed to suit your personal taste.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months, or in the freezer for up to 9 months.

Show us all your pesto creations on social media! We’d love to see all the variations you can come up with. Tag us as #hthpersonalchef on Instagram or leave us a note on Facebook @hthpersonalchef. We’d love to see what you come up with!

See you next week!