Sauces

November 22, 2021

Summer Herb Pesto

Summer Herb Pesto

Nothing quite says summer like the fresh, herbaceous burst of basil, lemon and parmesan that is pesto. To us, pesto is the ultimate summer spread.

Whether you are serving it with fresh tomatoes, as a sauce for a pasta, or as a spread on a sandwich, this summer herb pesto will complete and elevate any dish.

What is traditional Pesto?

Pesto, which derives from the Italian word pestare, meaning to pound or crush, was named after the technique that was originally used to make it. Traditionally, pesto was made in a mortar and pestle and the ingredients were crushed and mixed together to bring everything together. While recipes similar to pesto were being made through Europe and especially in Ancient Rome for generations prior, the first published recording of pesto came in 1865 in the cookbook “La Cucina Genovese”.

While you can certainly make pesto using the traditional mortal and pestle, it's common and a lot easier to make it using a food processor. Aside from it being faster, your herbs will keep more of their green hue, whereas sometimes when using a mortal and pestle the herbs begin to brown a bit.

How does this summer herb pesto differ from a traditional pesto?

The two big differences between this recipe and a classic pesto is the use of herbs other than using only basil and the way we treat two of those herbs.

  • Traditional: A traditional pesto is packed with basil and typically does not feature other herbs.
  • Summer herb pesto: we love the complexity and waves of flavors that the addition of multiple herbs bring. We like to use parsley, mint, and thyme in addition to the basil. Each additional herb has its own role. The parsley brings an earthy-fresh flavor to the pesto with the mint mirroring and elevating the burst of piquant aromatics present in the basil, while the thyme rounds everything out with a subtly-woody note.

The additional herbs hit your palate in waves that combine with the other ingredients to perform a symphony of tunes on your tongue that will have you picking up different flavors throughout the whole meal. This makes this summer herb pesto so dynamic and is a huge reason why I can’t ever put it down.

The second difference in this recipe is that we chose to blanch and shock half of the basil and half of the parsley. We do this to preserve the color and to slow the oxidation process.

Ingredients for summer herb pesto

In addition to the herbs, we use the following ingredients to make this summer herb pesto:

  • Pine nuts
  • Parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • Garlic confit  
  • Olive oil
  • Lemons
  • Salt

When the ingredients are ready, add in them in a blender or food processor and purée until everything is chopped together but not completely smooth. Serve chilled and use within 3 days of making!

We hope you enjoy this summer herb pesto!

Cheers and eat well!

Summer Herb Pesto

This four herb pesto is the ultimate summer spread, sauce, or just a great accompaniment to any summer dish. It's fresh with bursts of basil, parsley, mint, thyme and lemon, and completely comes together with the parmesan and pine nuts.

Author:

Alejandra Diaz del Valle

Prep:

15

min

cook:

5

min

total:

20

min

serves:

10

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • ¾ cup Parmigiano-reggiano cheese (grated)
  • 10 cloves of garlic confit
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • The zest of 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup fresh thyme (picked)
  • 4 cups fresh basil (picked)
  • ½ cup fresh mint
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon)

Instructions

  1. Pick all of your herbs, put them aside in separate containers.
  2. Then, blanch and shock half of the parsley and half of the basil. Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, fill up a bowl with ice water and dump half of the parsley and half of the basil into the boiling water and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. After 30 seconds, strain the herbs from the boiling water and immediately dump into the ice water to stop the cooking. Once the herbs are cold, squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
  4. Toast the pine nuts in a 300 F oven for about 6 minutes until golden brown. When finished cooking, set aside to cool.
  5. When the pine nuts are cooled to room temperature, add the blanched basil and parsley, along with all of the thyme and mint into your blender or food processor. Add the pine nuts, parmigiano-reggiano, garlic confit, lemon zest, salt and olive oil.
  6. Puree on low speed until everything is chopped and mixed together but not completely smooth.
  7. Season to taste and chill before serving.

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