Fresh Basil Pesto

Kinfolk Magazine, you are the amazing.An indie short film for a basil pesto recipe? Can I work for you right now?

[vimeo 34766296 w=500 h=281]

A good basil pesto recipe is something that every chef should have in his or her arsenal. Watching the video from Kinfolk makes me wish that is how inspiring I looked while making pesto. Truth is, it's not. Nonetheless, the recipe is simple and is made even easier with a few modern tools (i.e. food processor).


I've made pesto numerous times before but wanted to try making it with my Vitamix. I figured that it would work perfectly, however I found that it wasn't able to blend the ingredients smoothly enough into a paste. Perhaps it was an abnormality, but I would suggest sticking with a food processor.

pine nuts


Pesto is a great addition to any pasta (my favorite being gnocchi), pizza, or sandwich. Check out this page from The Food Network talking about 50 things to make with pesto. There are a few ideas that I may have to borrow and try for myself.


Thursday's post will be for a recipe that I was able to include this pesto in, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for new posts.

Fresh Basil Pesto Makes about 1 cup


5-6 ounces (2 healthy bunches or about 6 cups gently packed) basil leaves, or any other green 1/2 cup pine nuts, or any other nut 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, or any other hard cheese 1-2 garlic cloves 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine half of the basil with the nuts, cheese, cloves, and salt in a food processor. Blend continuously until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the basil. Blend until a uniform paste has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. With the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Less olive oil will make a paste good for spreading on sandwiches and pizzas; more will make a sauce better for pastas and stirring into soup. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue blending as needed until the olive oil is emulsified into the basil and the pesto looks uniform.
  4. Taste the pesto and add more salt, garlic, nuts or cheese as needed to taste.
  5. Pesto will darken and brown very quickly, but will still be tasty and fresh for several days. For best appearance, use it right away. If storing, store it in the smallest container possible and thoroughly press the pesto to eliminate air pockets. Pour a little olive oil over the surface, cover, and refrigerate for up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen for several months.

pasta with pesto cream sauce

well this is awkward...i feel as though SMAK is some girl i went on a date with and never called back...

my excuse? um.... i lost track of time. i had to go to the doctor. i took a sabbatical. i lost my computer. i moved to a foreign country and was without internet service. i forgot how to cook?

4 months. i have gone 4 months without putting a single picture, recipe, post, not even a whimper onto SMAK. what in the world happened? i don't know what to say. i could try to come up with excuses. clearly i have tried, but all seem pathetic and contrived. so instead of coming up with some reason for my 4-month absence, i will own up. i didn't call back. i didn't even send a text message! all i can ask is to let me back into your inboxes and kitchens. let me make your mouths water with intense anticipation.

let me be your SMAK!


this past weekend i flew out to pittsburgh, pa to visit my best friend of 20 years. crap. 20 years? thinking about knowing someone for that long, outside of your own flesh and blood, seems absurd. but none-the-less, shizz happens - megan and i first met and the bright young age of 5, our mothers called each other to make sure that it was appropriate for us to have play dates, and we've been making creepy crawlers and drinking wine ever since!

pasta with pesto cream sauce

megan took me to pittsburgh's strip district, a neighborhood teaming with markets and shops. italian groceries. jewish groceries. stores fronts with tchotchke knick knacks and steelers memorabilia. everywhere. i have never in my life seen so many people wearing sports gear. hats. shirts. jerseys. shorts. tattoos. a little overboard for my taste.

meg & tom

we had planned on spending the evening in without the slightest idea of meal choices. megan and i will quite frequently text each other asking what to make for dinner. so clearly decisiveness may not be our strong suit. while meandering through an italian market, meg picked up a bag of cavatappi. "i bet this would be great with some kind of cream sauce." a few seconds later i was sifting through recipes on my iphone and discovered this easy recipe for pasta with pesto cream sauce.

this meal, along with a bottle of red wine, or two...three, was the perfect way to spend a saturday night with my best friend!

so grab your best friend and try this out yourself and until next time...happy eating!

pasta with pesto cream sauce servings: 8

ingredients: 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 3 tablespoons pine nuts 2 cloves garlic, peeled salt and pepper, to taste 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup grated parmesan (additional) 12 ounces pasta 2 whole tomatoes, diced


  1. cook pasta until al dente.
  2. add basil leaves, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to a food processor. turn on and drizzle in olive oil while ingredients mix. continue blending until combined, adding additional olive oil if needed. set aside.
  3. heat cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. add pesto and stir.
  4. drain pasta and place in a serving bowl. pour pesto cream over the top. toss to combine. add diced tomatoes and toss quickly. top with parmesan cheese. serve immediately.