It’s summer, your basil is deeply green and vibrant and just begging to be turned into Pesto. It’s a classic sauce adding amazing flavor and zing to so many dishes and best of all, it’s ridiculously easy to make! Five ingredients and 10 minutes and you can indulge in one of summer’s easiest and most versatile treats.
Just 5 ingredients! Fresh basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts (or almonds or walnuts), olive oil, salt and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Pine nuts can be ridiculously expensive so feel free to use almonds or walnuts for equally delicious Pesto!
Toss your pesto with hot whole grain pasta, use with sauteed chicken breasts, make pasta salad, drizzle over sliced tomatoes and mozzarella or slather it on toasted ciabatta bread with slices of grilled eggplant, roasted peppers and provolone cheese. It’s unbelievable on hot corn on the cob. Seriously. The possibilities are endless.
Put all the ingredients in your food processor or blender and add the olive oil. Blend until smooth.
Toss with hot pasta (I used whole grain pasta) and sprinkle with cheese for absolute perfection.
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried (spin in a salad spinner)
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts* (you don't have to toast them but it makes them nuttier) or almonds or walnuts
- 1 - 2 peeled garlic cloves
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus additional ½ cup for sprinkling when served
- salt and pepper to taste, about ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt and several grinds of fresh pepper
- ½ cup good quality organic olive oil
- In a food processor combine the toasted nuts*, basil, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Process until finely chopped.
- With the machine running, add the oil in a thin stream until the pesto is smooth, about a minute. Now, how easy is that?
- Store in a jar with oil covering the top and use on hot pasta, chicken, fresh tomatoes, etc.
- To toast pine nuts–Heat a pan on medium and throw your pine nuts in. Keep the nuts moving in the pan for a few minutes. They will get fragrant and golden. Watch them carefully as they can burn quickly.
- To toast walnuts or almonds, I generally roast in a 350 oven. Check them at about 10 minutes to see if they’re beginning to brown and then every few minutes. You don’t want them to burn.
- If you don’t eat all your pesto, store it in a glass jar and cover the top with about ¼ inch of olive oil. This will keep your pesto nice and green. Store in the refrigerator.
- I like to make extra pesto so I have some to freeze. When I freeze it, I leave out the cheese and add it in after it has thawed.
- Pour your pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze. Pop the frozen cubes out and place in a zip lock freezer bag. These are great to drop in soups or steaming pots of tomato sauce or thaw them and add to hot pasta or sauteed vegetables.
- Try some other combinations of herbs and nuts. How about italian parsley and toasted walnuts or pecans, or cilantro and macadamia nuts or fresh mint and roasted almonds? Experiment, have fun and share your combinations –I’d love to hear about them!