My mom is full-blooded Italian, so I grew up eating lots of authentic Italian dishes. One of my absolute favorites as a kid was pasta with homemade pesto sauce; I could eat huge heaping bowls of it, oil dripping down my chin, and still want seconds and thirds. When I first started learning to cook, I always bought the jarred stuff (which is still delicious) not having any idea how easy it was to make from scratch. Once I tried my Nani’s recipe though, I never went back. It’s quick, easy, fresh and tastes heavenly. Here’s the recipe and a handful of delicious pesto meals for busy mamas.
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. pine nuts
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Wash basil and separate leaves from stems.
- Place basil leaves in a food processor with the minced garlic (use fresh for this recipe--it's much better!)
- Pulse until basil is finely chopped.
- Add oil and pine nuts gradually, scraping down the sides with a spatula, if necessary.
- Add cheese last and stop processing when all ingredients are blended. The sauce will be a little chunky.
- Serve with your favorite dish or refrigerate immediately. Will keep in the fridge for up to one week.
1. Italian Chicken Bake: I love to make this one when I’m crunched for time and I need a delicious, cheap meal to come together fast. This one uses jarred pesto, which you can also do to save time, if you’d prefer.
2. Pesto Pizza: We make homemade pizza lot in our house because it’s easy and very inexpensive (plus, who the hell doesn’t love pizza?) This recipe is a favorite of mine because it breaks up the monotony of always doing a pizza with red sauce.
3. Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta: This stuff is to die for and very easy to make. If you want to make it even easier, dice up a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken breasts.
4. Parmesan Crusted Pesto Grilled Cheese: Easy way to give traditional grilled cheese a delicious kick. Add some tomatoes to top it off.
5. Pesto & eggs: This recipe is just sort of a jumping off point, because there’s a lot you can do with pesto and eggs and the combination is dynamite. I usually make an omelet or scramble with onions and bell peppers plus some eggplant, tomatoes or zucchini. Then I add a generous scoop of my homemade pesto and some fresh or shredded mozzarella cheese. Perfection.
What are some of your favorite delicious pesto meals? Leave me some of your go-to recipes in the comments!