To make basil pesto that is at all economical, you should either grow your own basil, or have a friend who does. I mourn the loss of my basil plants during the winter. There is no real substitute for fresh. I only use dried in recipes to make myself feel better, it doesn’t really taste that awesome.
Last year I tried freezing pesto. My family loved the result so much that I instantly regretted making such a small amount. My recipe yielded about seven or eight 1/2 cup portions that, after I started rationing, we ran through in maybe three months. Made a mental note to make about four times that amount this year. It’s great in a ton of applications.
1 1/3 cups pine nuts (can substitute other oily nuts such as: walnuts, pumpkin seed, almonds)
3 medium-large cloves of garlic
1 1/4 cups grated italian cheese (parmesan is traditional, I use a blend of parmesan and Romano)
1 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
additional olive oil
Place the basil leaves in a food processor and pulse until half-way chopped. Add the Pine nuts and garlic. Continue pulsing. Add the cheese, salt, pepper ‚and sugar. Through the pouring spout, with the processor on, Drizzle the olive oil into the basil mixture. When oil has been added, stop processing. You don’t want it done to a fine paste. A little texture is best.
I store pesto in 1/2 cup portions in zip-close freezer bags. Put in the pesto, press out the extra air, flattening the pesto in the bag, and drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top. Seal tightly, and freeze flat.
Should keep for a year if you can make it last that long!