Around this time of year, my basil plants start trying to flower and go to seed. When basil starts to flower, the plant will focus its energy on the blooms, leaving the leaves looking puny and lacking essential oils. Pinching off the flowers and pruning will help generate foliage growth. Pruning basil means that it is time for pesto!
There are many different ways to put a spin on traditional basil pesto... and all of them are wonderful, but I love adding honey and lemon to a basic pesto to give it just a little extra love!
Honey Lemon Basil Pesto
- A bundle of fresh basil
- 2-4 garlic cloves
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Throw all ingredients into a food processor until smooth and you have yourself a batch of fresh homemade pesto!
Pesto also freezes well! So if you have a lot of basil on your hands, just make a big batch and freeze to enjoy with many different dishes. My latest pesto dinner experiment was with heirloom tomatoes from the garden, chicken, and zucchini noodles!
Pesto Chicken with Tomatoes and Zucchini Noodles
- Sliced chicken breasts
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Zoodles (zucchini noodles)
Coat sliced chicken with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and sear in a skillet until cooked through. Take out of the skillet and set aside. Prepare your zoodles with a vegetable spiralizing contraption (see link below for the one I bought on Amazon). I used the ribbon noodle setting for this dish, but any setting will work.
Cook zoodles for 3 minutes or so in the same pan that you cooked the chicken (they will soak up some flavor left from the chicken). Drain zoodles and set aside. Pour your pesto (about 1/2 cup or so) into your skillet and heat it through for about 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook another 1-3 minutes depending on how soft you want the tomatoes. Throw in zoodles and cooked chicken. Toss together in the pan until everything is coated in pesto and your chicken has heated back through. Plate, top with fresh grated parmesan, and enjoy!
I also love making homemade pasta! I am digging this new veggie noodle trend, but sometimes you just got to have the carbs! I don't have a pasta maker, but making it by hand isn't nearly as scary as you think! Here is a link I found on how https://www.cooksillustrated.com/features/8544-how-to-make-handmade-pasta-without-a-machine
For this dish, heat your pesto in a skillet for a few minutes. Add sliced tomatoes and cook a few more minutes, stirring frequently. At this point, throw in your cooked noodles and toss in the skillet until they are coated in pesto. Cooking the noodles in the sauce for a bit will help the noodles absorb all the yummy flavors! Top with parmesan if desired and enjoy!