Take a Trip to Italy: Pesto Genovese

Pesto is another one of those crazy-expensive things you can do simply. Make your own, and voilà–you’ve got a restaurant.

All these measurements are approximations–you can’t mess this up!

Put the following in your food processor and process  until smooth.  Measurements approximates: 

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1/3-1/2 cup pine nuts and/or walnuts.  You can mix the two
  • 1/2-1 clove garlic
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • If you are growing basil, make a big batch of pesto–freeze it in an ice cube tray or foodsaver bags. I use this all winter for meals and seasoning.
  • Change it up by using Thai basil, peanut oil, and walnuts to make a different pesto. You can sub any green, nut or oil in or out of this one to travel the world.


  • Toss with pasta
  • Use in soups
  • Substitute for fresh basil in any recipe that needs basil
  • Use as a spread on bruschetta
  • Put a scoop in a pasta salad
  • Create dips and dressings
  • Make a cream sauce by adding a bit of heavy cream into the mix

Broke Teacher Pro Tip:

Pesto is really, really expensive to buy in the store.  Basil is very easy to grow in season.  If you have a garden or a local discount grocery store, you should be able to score a ton of basil all summer long.  If you’re gardening, harvest basil regularly, clipping off the flowers to give the plant’s strength to the leaves.  This makes the basil grow better.

Put the extra basil in a freezer bag, and continue to harvest all season long, then make a big batch of pesto when you have a stuffed bag.  You can then place the pesto in ice cube trays and crack them back into a freezer bag when frozen so you can use your pesto all winter long.  Just take out as many cubes as you need to throw into your meal.

Any leftover basil you have can stay in that freezer bag.  Crumble a handful into your dishes for that fresh summer feel even in the dark of winter.