Pesto sauce is a delicious, versatile, and easy-to-prepare food that can be used in many different dishes. Whether you’re looking to level up your pasta dish or you want a new condiment for your sandwich, pesto sauce is the perfect choice. Pesto sauces are usually prepared with fresh basil leaves as well as garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt, freshly ground black pepper and extra virgin olive oil. This recipe and tips will show you how to make homemade pesto sauce from scratch!
What ingredients do you use for making pesto sauce?
Making pesto from scratch doesn’t require any cooking skills, but the most important thing of making a good batch of this fresh sauce is to start with high quality ingredients.
Fresh basil is the key ingredient for a green pesto, but what does that mean? One handful of fresh leaves will give you an idea as to how much it should be.
Amount you need: 1 handfull
You can use other key ingredients for you pesto below some of our favorites :
- Flat leaf parsley
- Sun-dried tomatoes
A lot of people like to go with pine nuts for pesto. A common reason is that they are delicate and buttery, which makes your pesto sauce smoother and silkier than if you use something else instead.
Amount you need: half the amount as the basil
What other nuts are good for pesto?
There are so many different nuts you can use besides pine-nuts in your homemade pesto. Here’s a list of some our favorites:
- Macadamia nut
Parmesan is the perfect cheese for your homemade pesto because it’s salty and creamy. A more prominent cheesy flavor can be achieved by using Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan.
Amount you need: about as much as the pin nuts
flavoring to perfection
A dash of salt and pepper can bring all the flavors in your pesto to life.
But I love when I get to add in a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes or a few slices of jalapeño. The extra kick is so delicious!
Garlic is a traditional component that livens up the pesto with aromatics and makes it taste better. Trust me when I say you should never even think about skipping this ingredient!
Amount you need: 1 clove
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
If you want the best quality, you should go for extra-virgin olive oil.
Extra-virgin olive oil is an excellent choice if your priority is to eat healthy and high in flavor at the same time.
Amount you need: 2 cups for every handful of basil
Why your pesto tastes bitter?
The flavor of extra-virgin olive oil is influenced by a class of polyphenols that are coated with fatty acids, which prevents them from dispersing. If the mixture were to be emulsified in a food processor then these polyphenols could get squeezed out and the liquid would turn bitter.
One way to avoid the bitter taste is by adding organic cane sugar or using any of these cooking oils instead (these vegetable oils have a more natural taste):
- Canola oil: If you’re looking for a neutral, pleasant-tasting oil to use in your cooking, canola is the way to go.
- Grape seed oil: The best thing about grapeseed oil is that it has a neutral taste, making it perfect for any recipe that requires cold cooking.
- Sunflower oil: Sunflower oil has a distinct and subtle flavor. It won’t overwhelm other ingredients like olive oil.
Tools you need for making the perfect homemade pesto sauce
Cooking is always more enjoyable when you have the right kitchen tools, here are some of our favorites:
How to make pesto sauce 3 easy steps!
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a food blender or food processor, except for olive oil.
- Start blending! While your blender is running, drizzle in the olive oil until it’s all nicely blended. If the pesto is to thick you can add some more oil
- Start seasoning. Give a taste and give any feedback to make sure you’ve got everything just right!
How to add pesto into your dish?
You can serve pesto warm or cold. You shouldn’t heat your pesto sauce because it will change the color, taste and texture of the fresh basil. I recommend keeping pasta warm to achieve this same effect without changing anything about its composition!
How to store pesto sauce?
store your pesto sauce in an air tight container to preserve the taste and texture. You can protect your pesto sauce by adding a layer of vegetable oil on top. This will give you an extra protection against bacteria and it’ll make the shelf life last longer!
Recipes with pesto
Homemade pesto recipe
Thecookingbar’s homemade pesto
- 50 grams fresh basil
- 25 grams pine nuts (roasted)
- 25 grams parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- 460 ml olive oil (or any other vegetable oil)
- pepper (to taste)
- salt (to taste)
Combine all the dry ingredients in a food blender or food processor, except for olive oil.
Start blending! While your blender is running, drizzle in the olive oil until it’s all nicely blended. If the pesto is to thick you can add some more oil
Start seasoning. Give a taste and give any feedback to make sure you’ve got everything just right!