When I was in high school, I used to buy the little powder pesto packets, mix them up with all of the water and all of the oil that the recipe called for, and eat it over tri-color rotini. I loved pesto. I ate it all the time. Only problem – it gave me the most ridiculous heart burn…and I was a teenager! Once I went to college, it took a couple of years before I was out of the dorms and living in an apartment with a WHOLE KITCHEN (small victories)! When I got there, what did I want as one of my first meals? Pesto and rotini, of course! I prepared my store bought pesto just the way I had in high school and chowed down. An hour later, I felt terrible. After that, I started to shy away from my beloved pesto. I was so tempted to eat it, but knew it was not worth the tummy ache.
No more!!! I am once again a proud pesto eater and I love it more than ever! Amazing what a little home grown basil and some kitchen love can do, right?
The Lighter Side of Pesto is a very low calorie version of my little green friend and leaves me feeling…well, in the words of an amazing mother goose, “Teerrrriiffiicccc!” I haven’t even told you the best part – this pesto is absolutely, deliciously addictive. I still eat it on pasta, but love it I eat it on so much more! Don’t worry. I will share my secrets, but you’ll have to be patient!
With my summer basil finally on its way out, I have been making loads and loads of this pesto to freeze for the winter. I whip it up, and then pour it into an ice cube tray to freeze overnight before transferring the cubes into a heavy duty freezer bag for long-term storage. The pesto cubes are each approximately one tablespoon, which makes portion control a breeze! This final photo shows you some of the pesto cubes I made last month in the freezer bag ready for storage or use!
- 8 cups basil
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 6 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 tbsp. pine nuts
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides of the processor with a spatula as needed.
- Spoon pesto into a 16 cube ice cube tray with each cube being approximately one tablespoon. Flash freeze for 1 day and then transfer cubes to freezer bag.
- Before straining your pasta, scoop some of the pasta water out of the pot to mix in with your pesto. Pop pesto cubes into a pot on low heat and gradually add the pasta water until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. I used a ratio of 1 cube to 2 tablespoons water, but I like my pesto strong!