Monday, September 24, 2012

Fresh Basil and Walnut Pesto

Got basil?


Chances are, if you planted basil this spring or summer, you have a plentiful amount growing in your garden.  And even if you don't have any growing if your backyard, you can pick up a bunch at the store.  Either way, this pesto recipe is another tasty way to enjoy fresh basil.

Making pesto is super easy and can be made at a fraction of the cost of jarred pesto. A store-bought jar of pesto can easily cost 4-5 times the cost of making a batch of fresh pesto at home. Use this fresh pesto recipe for a dish now, and freeze any extra for future use.

Want to know the best part?  Pesto is one of the easiest ways to get dinner on the table...use it as sauce for any protein, as a spread on a gourmet sandwich or wrap, or as a different way to serve a simple pasta dish.

Fresh Basil and Walnut Pesto

1 cup (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
zest of 1/2 lemon
3-4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1-2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients (using the lower amount suggested for the garlic, cheese and water), except the oil in a food processor.  Pulse a few times, scraping the sides of the processor between pulses.

Once the basil is well chopped, add the olive oil through the hole in the top of the processor while it is running.

Taste the pesto and season with additional garlic, cheese or add more water if necessary.

Making pesto is more of an art than a specific recipe, so keep tasting until you think you have the flavors to where you like them.

Reserve some pesto for immediate use, freeze the rest in either ice cube trays or a cookie sheet for future use.

Makes about 1 cup.

Toss some of this delicious pesto with spaghetti for a quick dinner.

Lastly, if you have some fresh basil sprigs after you make the basil, place them in a glass of water and watch the roots grow.  Voila!  A fresh basil seedling for you to plant and make into a brand new basil plant (for indoors during the winter, perhaps?)!

Life is sweet,


whitneyingram said...

I always use walnuts in pesto. I like the flavor more and they are MUCH cheaper than pine nuts.

I take a tip from you and call pesto pasta "Hulk pasta" and then my boys gobble it up!

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