Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Basil Pesto

August 4th, 2009 · 19 Comments

Basil Pesto Ingredients    I first learned about pesto preparations during my apprenticeship at the Column’s Hotel in the 1984 to 1986 tenure. The menu included an appetizer of shrimp and pasta pesto Alfredo which was a very popular dish, it also made it to the lunch buffet on occasion. The heavy cream reduction sauce infused with fresh grated parmesan cheese and this fresh basil pesto was made to order. The basil pesto was prepared in advance in batches which typically would hold up for 2 to 3 days, it was made at least twice a week due to demand and popularity of the shrimp dish. Pesto was on the pantry prep list as one of the staple prep items and was done so often that I made the batches without recipe after the first couple of weeks. We also applied the pesto to other menu specials and buffet dishes on occasion, such as a pesto encrusted broiled salmon.   

Toasted garlic and pine nuts     The Columns Hotel obtained all of their fresh herbs from Crickhollow Farms out of Mississippi and the weekly delivery also included farm raised rabbits, edible flowers and some organic baby vegetables and wild mushrooms as well.

    This recipe is a slight modification from the one we prepared at the Columns Hotel, I’ve added the step of toasting the garlic and pine nuts before pulsing them in the food processor, this adds a deeper flavor profile to the pesto that brings out the nutty flavor of the garlic and nuts.  If basil is not your preferred flavor you can substitute any leafy green herb or even greens such as arugula.

1 Tbsp Olive oil
4 Ounces Garlic cloves, minced
1 Cup Pine nuts
1 Lb. Fresh basil leaves, coarse chopped
1 – 2 Cups Olive oil
1 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
To taste Salt and pepper
Procedure Steps
1. Sauté garlic and pine nuts in the 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender.
2. Add the garlic and pine nut mixture into the bowl of a food processor or a blender, and then add the fresh chopped basil. Pulse and blend for a minute or so.
3. Add the parmesan cheese and process or blend while adding the olive oil until a smooth paste forms.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in air tight containers and chilled or refrigerated.

Basil Pesto in processor bowl

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Tags: Columns Hotel · Ingredients · Recipes

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 SippitySup // Aug 4, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Pesto from a pro. Thank you! GREG

  • 2 Jessie // Aug 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

    great pesto! I’m going to make your version today 🙂

  • 3 Ryan Boudreaux // Aug 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Next I am going to share the Shrimp and Pasta Pesto Alfredo recipe as well as the Pesto Crusted Broiled Salmon, as sort of a pesto series.

  • 4 Gera @ SweetsFoods // Aug 4, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    This is what I can call Pesto!!!
    Excellent recipe 🙂



  • 5 Ryan Boudreaux // Aug 4, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I forgot to mention in the original post that this basil was harvested from my front yard garden, and the 1 lb of basil in the recipe is only about 1/10th of the total yield still on the plants.

  • 6 Shari aka The Saucy Gourmet // Aug 5, 2009 at 10:16 am

    my basil is going bonkers also, can’t wait for your Shrimp and Pasta Pesto Alfredo and Pesto Crusted Broiled Salmon recipes…..keep me posted;-)

  • 7 My Food and Life Encounters // Aug 5, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I love pesto!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • 8 Cookin' Canuck // Aug 5, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I like the idea of toasting the garlic before adding it in with the rest of the ingredients. Your pesto looks delicious! I was recently convinced to try making pesto in a mortar and pestle. While it was more time-consuming and required some muscle, I loved the texture. That being said, I will still be using the food processor when I need to make a quick batch.

  • 9 curiousdomestic // Aug 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Looks like you’ll be knee deep in pesto this season!

  • 10 My Man's Belly // Aug 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I love fresh pesto. My basil didn’t produce much this year…but the tomatoes went crazy. How about a trade?

  • 11 Debi (Table Talk) // Aug 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Tis the season for pesto—made some this am. I toast my pine nuts, but have never added toasted garlic…will have to give it a try; thanks!

  • 12 Frieda // Aug 5, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    This looks like a very flavorful pesto. I love your take on roasting the garlic and nuts to bring out the flavor. 1 pound of basil seems like a lot! I will have to trim my plants back and see how much I can get. Thanks for the recipe!

  • 13 Ryan Boudreaux // Aug 6, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Check out my new post using pesto in the Shrimp Pesto Pasta Alfredo recipe…

  • 14 ValleyWriter // Aug 6, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I’ve never heard of sauteing the garlic first – I’ll have to give that a try!
    One thing I have found is that if you don’t have pine nuts on hand, blanched almonds give a similar taste and mouth feel. (But pine nuts really are the best!)

  • 15 Frank // Aug 7, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Gee, I never knew that pesto was Cajun… :=)

  • 16 Ryan Boudreaux // Aug 7, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Yeah, Frank you learn something new every day right! Actually the origins of pesto are most likely not from Acadian heritage, funny that you should mention that however. While I specialize in Cajun dishes my culinary repertoire is only limited by my imagination, the money in my pocket and time. I love all types of cuisine and while Cajun happens to be the source of my heritage and the namesake for this blog I continue to enjoy and cook many more foods than those from south Louisiana.
    CCR =:~)

  • 17 sizzlechef // Aug 11, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Thumbs Up for basil pesto. Thank you very much for sharing. Cheers !

  • 18 The Hungry Mouse // Aug 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I have 3 pots of basil on my deck! Can’t wait to make some pesto! 😀


  • 19 caroline // Jun 17, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    is it better to blanche the basil