I honestly feel pesto is as close to perfection as it gets. This simple green sauce that borders on divine can be used as a sauce or marinade for pasta, meats, vegetables and salads and its proportion of ingredients are fully customizable. That being said, this is my family’s favorite version, served traditionally, with pasta.
Each summer, we grow 3-4 huge pots of basil, which makes enough pesto to feed my family through the winter months. Freezing individual 1-2 ounce scoops of sauce, before vacuum sealing, keeps it fresh tasting and worthy of serving. Using the best quality ingredients will make the sauce that much better.
Originally, pesto was made with a mortar and pestle, but a food processor really makes easy work of preparing this sauce. The basil, salt and garlic are pulsed in the food processor until finely chopped. Continue pulsing while drizzling the oil through the feeding spout until you have a coarse sauce. Lastly, the parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts are added, blending until you have a fairly smooth sauce. And that’s it! Doesn’t get much easier than that.
To store the pesto for long term, you will want to freeze and vacuum seal it. Use a 1-2 ounce scoop, placing the scoops of sauce on a lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for several hours or overnight. Mark each vacuum bag with the date you made the pesto. When frozen, place several mounds in each bag, vacuum seal, and store the bags in the freezer.
If serving fresh, thoroughly mix 1 – 2 oz of pesto sauce for each serving of pasta, cooked al dente, to taste. Linguine or farfalle (bow tie) are our favorite pasta shapes with pesto.