Basil Pesto with Lemon (and Ten Ideas for Using Basil Pesto)
Since then, I’ve made many types of pesto, and I make basil pesto every year when the garden is bursting with midsummer basil. For a few years now I’ve been making this Basil Pesto with Lemon, and I don’t think I’d ever make it again without the lemon, which brightens up the flavor and keeps the pesto bright green much longer in the fridge. Of course, pesto never stays around in the fridge that long around here, but if you need some ideas for using it, look after the recipe for suggestions.
Basil Pesto with Lemon
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups pesto, recipe inspired by many basil pesto recipes through the years, with the idea of adding lemon juice something Kalyn has been committed to the last few years.)
(You will need a food processor to make this. There are many brands, but I love my Cuisinart Food Processor.)
2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed into measuring cup)
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (choose a a flavorful olive oil for pesto)
1/2 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Wash basil leaves if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Put basil leaves and sliced garlic into food processor that’s been fitted with the steel blade and process until basil and garlic is finely chopped, adding oil through the feed tube as you process. (You may need to take off the lid and scrape the sides with a rubber scraper if you have a hard time getting the basil all chopped.)
Add pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice to the chopped basil mixture and process 1-2 minutes more, until the pesto is mostly pureed and well mixed. (I like to keep it slightly chunky, but you can make it as finely pureed as you wish.)
Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and pulse a few times more.
Store basil pesto in the refrigerator in a glass jar, where it will keep for more than a week. Pesto can also be frozen. Many cooking experts recommend leaving out the cheese if you’re going to freeze it, and then adding the cheese when you thaw the pesto. (I’ve done it both ways and haven’t noticed that much difference.)
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Ten Suggestions for Using Basil Pesto:
2) Use basil pesto in Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Parmesan.
3) Try Asparagus with Basil Pesto.
5) Use the pesto to replace basil puree in Basil Vinaigrette, then drizzle over fresh tomatoes.
7) Use some of the basil pesto for Baked White Fish with Pine Nut, Parmesan, and Basil Pesto Crust.
8) Use rotisserie chicken to make Leftover Chicken Pesto Salad.
9) Replace Sage-Pecan Pesto with Basil Pesto and toss with Roasted Summer Squash.
10) And of course you can always eat your Basil Pesto with delicious Whole Wheat Spaghetti!
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
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