Homemade Pesto

I go through phases of condiment obsession. Years ago, I was putting Swedish mustard on and in everything. Recently, I’ve been finding a million and one uses for Greek yogurt. Somewhere in between, it was pesto. One kind of pesto, to be specific.

Buddhapesto is a small company run out of the Hudson Valley area in New York state, and they make the best pesto I’ve ever had. Which is great, if you live in NY. But it’s a little hard to come by in Vermont. So, my goal for the summer was to grow a ton of basil and make pesto until I’d perfected the recipe, or my garden was depleted.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized it was finally time to give it a try. I cut down 1/3 of my basil, some parsley, and collected the rest of the ingredients listed on the label: olive oil, romano cheese, garlic, sea salt, and pine nuts. An important side note here: if you’re making pesto or anything else that involves pine nuts, try your best to purchase nuts that are not imported from China. About a month ago, I happened to be in NY and decided to stock up on Buddhapesto. A few days after pigging out on a sizable amount of pesto-covered pasta, I began to notice that everything I ate had a strange, bitter aftertaste. At first, I thought there might be something seriously wrong with me. But Google led me to a number of links and articles on “pine mouth,” a temporary condition caused by ingesting spoiled pine nuts, some of which have been traced back to China. (I have since been in touch with Buddhapesto and told that they were looking into their pine nut source, but the problem was only further motivation for me to make my own.)

So, I gathered all of my ingredients, measured them out into what I thought might be the proper proportions, and threw it all in the food processor. After blending it together, I had a taste. It didn’t seem right. I threw in a little more basil. Still not right. Some more cheese? It still wasn’t right. Even more basil. Still, it seemed off. Extremely frustrated, I left everything where it was and stormed out of the kitchen. Three hours later, I came back to clean up my mess, and decided to give it another taste. Oooh! It was good! Really good. Apparently, the flavors just needed a couple hours to get friendly with each other. Success!

Basil-Parsley Pesto

  • 4 cups of basil
  • 1 1/2 cups of Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cups of romano cheese, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • a few pinches of tri-colored or pink sea salt

Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add more olive oil if it isn’t blending easily. Allow pesto to sit for an hour, then taste. Make any adjustments you feel necessary if it doesn’t seem quite right to you. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or freeze whatever you won’t use right away.

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Comments

  1. says

    You nailed these photos of pesto. Mason Jars! So sumptuous looking! Also, I remember buying buddhapesto at the Harvest Festival at Bethel. AHH, I miss upstate NY and it’s summer bounty! Love this blog!

    • says

      Thanks Whit! Food processor, all the way. The short blades and more-tall-than-wide shape of a blender make it really tough to blend non-liquidy things. (I almost threw my blender out the window last year while trying to purée roasted beets.) I’m using a small but adequate FP now that only “chops” or “grinds,” but the nicer ones come with all sorts of blades so you can do a variety of things. Definitely great for a minimalist kitchen!

  2. says

    Thanks so much for your recipe. I recently tried BuddhaPesto while in Schenectady and thought it was awesome. With a quick google search, I found your site and really appreciate your input on the recipe. I hope you don’t mind, but I inluded a link to your site on my tumblr blog. Please let me know if that’s a concern. Thanks again!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the link! I’m glad you happened upon this post. :) I really excited to make a few batches of this pesto now that I have a garden full of basil!

      • cp says

        Thanks for the recipe. We are so looking forward to try to re-create the original pesto recipe. In fact, heading to the Pakatakan round barn market this next weekend! Definitely buying more pesto..:)

        • says

          Love the Pakatakan farmers’ market! Whenever I’m housesitting for my parents in NY, my Saturday’s revolve around making the hour-long drive over to Halcottsville. And then, if I’m feeling ambitious on the ride home, I’ll continue on 30 through Grand Gorge and visit many of the stands in the Schoharie Valley. :)

  3. Damaris says

    Hi there, I’m so happy I found your site. I had the pleasure of easy access to budha pesto because I lived in New York but I have recently moved to Florida and I’m craving this stuff! I’ve tried to make it once before but it came out awful so now I cannot wait to try your recipe!

    • says

      Yay! I can’t wait for you to try it. The “resting time” is definitely key (which I’ve learned is an important part of pesto over the years). Let it sit overnight in the fridge, and it will be top-notch. :)

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