Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

What began as a few days away quickly snowballed into a nearly two month blogging hiatus!
I've honestly just been enjoying my summer, spending as much of this monsoon season outdoors with the kids...
We've gone boating and tubing, taken a class on honeybees at a local farm, thrown a super-memorable joint birthday party, made great strides at the pool (no more water wings, woohoo!) visited a million and one parks and taken the girls to their very first Cubs game. Throw in some fun visits with friends, a trip up to Chicago to see our sweet new niece and two short summer camps, and we've been busy bees. Whew!

I'm excited to be back and am hoping to start posting a little more regularly as summer winds down and we get back into our school routine. To start back, I want to share one of my summer faves: sun-dried tomato pesto. 

I make pesto like it's my job in the summertime, freezing it for use throughout the entire year.
Check out my basil below- there is short, leafy, lemon basil in the front (which is a natural mosquito repellent) and taller, longer-leaf Italian basil in the back.

 It's like a basil mullet.
Keep in mind that my recipe makes an enormous batch of pesto!
 Feel free to half or even quarter this recipe based on how much you want/need.

 You will need:
6 cups of fresh basil, washed and completely dried
3/4 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes
6 cloves of peeled garlic
1 1/2 cups pine nuts, toasted and cooled (just put them in a pan over low heat and cook until fragrant- you'll know they're done when you can smell them!) 
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses (I do a 50/50 split)
roughly 3/4 cups of olive oil
A good sprinkle of Kosher salt and black pepper

Add your basil and your pine nuts to your food processor.
 Make sure each of these ingredients is cooled and dry before you add them!
 Pulse a few times to make room for your other ingredients. 
Find a sweet little sous-chef to do it for you if you'd like!
 Add the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes...
 This kid is a master at peeling garlic!
 She gives it a good smash with the back of a glass and pops the peel right off each clove.
 Add your cheeses...
 And the salt and pepper...

 I'm not big on measuring my salt and pepper- I keep my Kosher salt in a little bowl, so that I can pinch it in order to control the amount I use...
My trick is to season at each step and TASTE, TASTE, TASTE, making adjustments along the way!
The cheeses have quite a bit of salt already, so keep that in mind.
 You can always add more salt, but you can't take it out!
Turn on the food processor and stream in your olive oil. 
Eyeball it, stopping when the mixture loosens up a bit but before it is runny.
Again, you can always add more, but you can't take any out!
Next, make sure your sous-chef takes a bite, so you can adjust your seasonings!
 Or maybe two test bites, ha!
 Finally, I spoon the pesto into ice cube trays, freezing it then storing it in a gallon Ziploc bag. 
I mix it with mayo for an amazing sandwich spread, combine it with pasta cooking water for a delicious pasta salad (add more salt to taste if you do this!!) and top homemade Italian bread with it and some tomatoes tossed in a homemade vinaigrette for a quick and delicious appetizer. 
One of my absolute favorite things about pesto is its versatility.
Feel free to substitute walnuts for half of the pine nuts, a la Ina Garten's recipe...Play around with your greens, using arugula in place of basil. 
Go crazy, make it yours and use what you have on hand!

Stay tuned, and I'll share one of my very favorite summer meals with you soon- pesto chicken wraps with crispy oven fries. 
Perfect for a quick summer dinner!

Happy Weekend, friends!


  1. I love Pesto and your daughter is so cute! Thanks for the tips!

  2. Looks delicious! I make a pine nut and basil tomato pasta that looks similar, but I LOVE sun dried tomatoes! Looks yummy to try!

  3. This looks delicious! Of course I LOVE how you always have your babies in the kitchen with you!

  4. Oh boy, that looks amazing! Glad you're back to blogging and I think your helper is very cute!

  5. Great added to a meatball mix. Following your recipe today! 2 bags of basil from the organic co-op are calling me. I used to also cut up basil with my pinking shears (not a recommended thing, I'm sure). I'd freeze on a cookie sheet and store in a container to add a bit of fresh basil taste just before serving.