Basil Pesto Sauce with Pine Nuts is a delectable and versatile sauce that can be used in pasta, fish or meat. This basil pesto recipe is made with fresh basil leaves, toasted pine nuts (pignoli), fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, extra Virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and chili pepper powder which is optional.
It is so easy to make and adds so much flavor to any dish. Freshly made pesto sauce without preservatives is much better compared to store-bought. Also, you can control the thickness of the sauce by adding less or more olive oil. You have a choice of using your favorite cheese. I like using Rembrandt Extra Age Gouda Cheese but the nearest Costco to me stopped carrying this brand.
If you are on a budget or have a hard time finding pine nuts, you can substitute with walnut or almond nuts. The price per pound of pine nut is triple compared to almond nuts. I love eating pine nuts on its own, so I did not procrastinate on making this pesto sauce. Before I know it, I’ve eaten all the pine nuts. I get it at Sprouts or Whole Foods.
When making Basil Pesto Sauce with Pine Nuts, it is best to use a food processor. I guess you can also use a high powered blender but I’m not sure since I’ve always used a food processor. The easiest way is to combine all the ingredients in the food processor and within a couple of minutes it’s done. If you like to retain its lighter color, transfer right away to a sealed container otherwise it will turn darker when exposed to air.
Some people prepare to blend all the ingredients first without the basil leaves and once blended they add the basil last. I’ve done it this way in the past but it makes no difference to me.
Fall season is here and before it gets cold I wanted to harvest my basil. I went on vacation for 2 weeks and before I left I pruned my basil plants and transplanted them in the ground. I have no luck in growing herbs indoors. This summer I experimented planting basil and other herbs both in pots and in the ground. It thrived well in the garden so next planting season, they will all go in my garden connected to a drift system. Finally, I am done watering manually. It was a task to water all my herbs 2x a day the whole summer. Now, I know that basil and rosemary will survive our harsh scorching heat in the summer. I am doing another experiment if they will do well with our mild winter. Hopefully, nothing below 25 degrees.
I believed I end up with 6 to 8 cups of basil leaves enough to make a few dishes. I poured the extra pesto sauce in an ice cube tray to freeze. Then, I transferred it to a sealed bottle container. A well sealed frozen pesto sauce can be stored in the freezer for about six months. An ice cube is the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of sauce which is so convenient to have when cooking.
Today is my Dad’s 89th Birthday. He passed away almost 11 years ago and our family celebrate his birthday with steak and his other favorite dishes. He was a steak lover, so are we. So I will be making Basil Pesto Chicken for lunch and Rib Eye Steak for dinner. Happy Birthday Dy, we love you so much!
How to Make Basil Pesto Sauce with Pine Nuts
Another variant of this sauce is the Thai Basil Pesto Sauce. Check out the recipe.
Basil Pesto Sauce with Pine Nuts
- 2 cups basil leaves (washed and drained)
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup pine nuts (toasted)
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon chili pepper powder
- Thouroughly wash basil leaves and drain water in a colander.
- In a shallow pan over low heat, toast pine nuts until lightly brown. Remove from pan and cool for a few minutes.
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and ¼ of the olive oil. Note: I’ve never done it in a blender. My guess is it will work with a high powered blender.
- Pulse and slowly add the remaining olive oil until mixture is well blended or basil leaves are pulverize. Stop when it has the consistency of a sauce. If you prefer a runny sauce, add more olive oil.
- Pesto sauce will stay good for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. If not using within this time frame, pour in an ice cube tray to freeze then transfer to a sealed container and store in the freezer up to 6 months.
- Substitute pine nuts with walnut or almond nuts.
- For a runny sauce, add more olive oil.
- Chili pepper powder is optional.
- Use your favorite cheese instead of Parmesan cheese. I prefer to use Rembrandt Extra Age Gouda Cheese but the nearest Costco to me stopped carrying this brand.
- To retain its lighter color, transfer right away in a sealed container.