How are you guys? Sorry I’ve been a little MIA, I took the weekend off 😎!!! It was my Bday weekend, so I was spoiled by my friends, enjoyed the lake, had some delicious dinners, had some wine, had lots of cake, maybe too much cake… (there’s no such thing, right?) It was perfect, thank you to everyone who made me feel special 😘!!
But today I’m back at it and we’re making pesto, Roasted Garlic Basil Pesto that is, helllooo!! Roasted garlic and Basil Pesto just had a baby and it’s perfect!!!! First, can we talk about Roasted Garlic? Who doesn’t like garlic? Well, get ready to change your mind because once it’s roasted, it’s sweet, and tender, and delicious!!! Garlic can be overpowering, especially raw garlic, but roasting it make it caramelized and brings out such a nice sweetness but still has some spiciness… Just the roasted garlic itself spread on a toasted baguette, mixed into mashed potatoes, blended into to tomato soup 🤤 (Don’t worry, this is not the last you’ll see of Roasted Garlic). THEN, we mix that, with Basil Pesto, we have perfection people!
At this time of the year, my herb garden is usually filled with basil…but for some reason, not this year! I think I planted my herbs to late? Maybe It’s been to hot outside? Maybe I haven’t had time to water them enough 🤦🏻♀️I don’t know… BUT, thankfully for me, my friend’s garden is overflowing with it (Thanks Tina 👋🏻👋🏻).
Are you a fan of pesto? It’s such a versatile ingredient!! Mix it with pasta, into some mayo for a twist in your next BLT, mix into mashed potatoes, dollop onto frittatas… you guys just need pesto in your life, especially this one! It also freezes beautifully so bonus!!
So, let’s break it down:
The Roasted Garlic: This is seriously so simple to make! A whole head of garlic goes into this recipe (I know it sounds like a lot, but I promise once it’s roasted it’s such a different flavor than raw garlic it’s not overwhelming at all). You start off by slicing of the top part of the head of garlic, so the tip of each clove is exposed. Try to use a nice big head of garlic for this!! You’ll need to set your oven at 400 degrees (If I’m not going to use my oven for anything else I usually make this in the toaster oven). You’ll need a piece of foil, big enough to wrap up the garlic head into a little pouch. Set the garlic head on the foil, drizzle with a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), salt & pepper. Make a little pouch with the foil and wrapped it tightly. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Now this can vary… everyone’s oven is different! It can also vary with the size of the head of garlic! I suggest checking it at 40 minutes and go from there. You should see a nice caramelized color and it should be really tender.
Once it’s ready, let it cool until you can handle it with your hands and simply squeeze out all the garlic cloves. Roasted garlic on its own freezes great by the way!!
The Basil: Let’s get a few things straight about basil, NEVER PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE!!! Sorry, didn’t want to scream 🤭. Basil hates the cold… if you put it in the fridge, guaranteed it’s gonna turn black! Basil is such a soft herb you really need to treat it like fresh cut flowers! I still don’t understand why you go to some grocery store and it’s in the fridge! I told them once at my local grocery store…. Still there 5 years later 🤷🏻♀️!! But at least now you know right? So, this is a trick I learned from the once and only Racheal Ray (I’ll link it here), and it works like a charm. When you buy basil from the store, try to buy a large bunch that has stems on it, not just leaves. Put water in a small mason jar, add the basil stems and cover with a large plastic storage bag. Think of it as creating a little green house for your basil. Change the water every few days and you’re golden, fresh basil for dayssss. Snip off what you need and cover again with the plastic bag!
Nuts: Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts and that’s what I’m using today! If you don’t have pine nuts on hand, don’t panic, you can swap no problem! I would suggest either walnuts or pistachios (unsalted). Whichever nut you’re going to use, we’re going to toast them! In a small pan over medium heat, add the pine nuts and toast them for 3-5 minutes. Watch them closely because nuts burn quickly. You want to have a nice brown color on them but not too dark (aka burnt). When their done, set them aside and let them cool completely. Just a little important thing about nuts in general, you should always store nuts in the freezer! Nuts are filled with oil (probably why they are so delicious and addicting), but with all that oil, they lose their freshness really fast. Storing them in the freezer preserves their flavor and prevents them to turn rancid!!
Cheese: Plain and simple, Parmigiano-Reggiano Baby! Freshly grated, always! (You can check out my rant on Parm in my Spring Carbonara Post… what can I say, cheese is my passion✌🏻).
EVOO: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, light and fruity!
Salt & Pepper: Because seasoning is life!
Now what to do with all these delicious ingredients? Blend them up! Well actually I use a food processor for this, but a blender would work good too! I work in batches, like this 👇🏻!
- Add the Basil to the food processor, pulse a few times.
- Add the toasted pine nuts, pulse a few times.
- Add the roasted garlic and the parmaggiano cheese, pulse.
- Before streaming in the oil, scrape down the sides just to make sure everything is being evenly chopped.
- While the food processor is on, stream in 1/2 cup olive oil. Continue processing for a few seconds until everything is combined.
- Do a quick taste test and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. The parm will add saltiness but I still added about 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
- Transfer to a jar and use as you wish!
Enjoy this pesto on pasta, pizza, crostini, mix into mayo, soup, so many options!!! You can store pesto 2 ways, in the fridge or in the freezer! If you’re storing in the fridge, store as is in a mason jar and pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto, that will help it keep it’s bright green colour. If you want to freeze it, the easiest way is in a ice cube tray! Then you just pop the pesto cubes out and keep them in a Ziploc bag! I would say it would keep nicely in the fridge for a few weeks and in the freezer for 6 months🤗!!
So if you follow me on Instagram, you saw a sneak peek of what’s coming for this week’s Thirsty Thursday!! It just so happens this Thursday is National Daiquiri Day, so we’re making Mango Mint Daiquiris and they are as delicious as they sound! Originally I was gonna make Spicy Watermelon Margaritas, but that will have to wait till next week… stay tuned😏!!
Have a great week friends,
This Roasted Garlic Basil Pesto is the condiment of your dreams!! Serve it with pasta, spread it on pizza, slather it on toasted bread, mix into mayo to jazz up you BLT, so many options! Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or make a double batch and freeze for up to 6 months.
- 2 cups basil leaves, packed
- 1 whole head garlic, roasted
- 1/3 cup pine nuts*, toasted
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) + more for roasting garlic
- Salt & pepper
For the Roasted Garlic:
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut a medium piece of tin foil (big enough to completely wrap the garlic), set aside.
- Carefully cut off the top part of the head of garlic so all the cloves are exposed. Place the head of garlic on the piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Wrap the garlic tightly with foil and place in the oven for 40-50 minutes. All the ovens vary in cooking time so start checking it at 40 minutes. You want the garlic to be caramelized and very tender (step by step images are in my post).
- Once the garlic is done, set aside and let cool until you can handle it with your hands.
- Squeeze out all the cloves and it’s ready to use.
The toasted pine nuts:
- Heat a small pan over medium heat.
- Add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and toast for about 3-5 minutes.
- Make sure to move them around the pan a lot and keep a close eye on them as they can burn quickly.
- Once they are done, set aside to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the basil leaves and pulse a few times.
- Add the pine nuts and pulse again until the pine nuts and basil are finely chopped.
- Add the roasted garlic and the grated parmigiano cheese. Pulse again to mix everything together.
- With the food processor on, stream in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
- Remove blade, transfer to a bowl and adjust seasoning to taste. I added about 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- You can store the pesto in the fridge in a jar with a thin layer of olive oil on top (to help the bright green colour last) for about 2 weeks and up to six months in the freezer. If you are going to freeze it, I suggest using a ice cube tray. Once the pesto is frozen, pop out the cubes and store in a Ziploc bag.
*If you don’t have pine nuts, you could swap for walnuts or pistachios.
**If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work.
Keywords: basil, pesto, roasted garlic