We love pesto! We're kind of pesto snobs. We spent part of a summer in Italy and have had our share of great pesto. In fact, a simple pasta with pesto sauce and sauteed zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms and bell peppers is a meal that takes us all back to Italy; cooking in a tiny kitchen, with very few cooking utensils or accessories. It was a meal I could quickly pull together with what little we had before we all crashed into bed.
It's hard to beat a great homemade pesto. It adds divine flavor to just about any dish; soups, pasta, vegetables, eggs, chicken, fish, beef, sandwiches, flat breads, pizza, mixed into tomato sauce, mixed into dips or salad dressings and as a topping on roasted, boiled or baked potatoes. Oh the yumminess that pesto has to offer. It makes just about everything better! This pesto stores very well for several weeks in the refrigerator.
2 cups packed basil leaves (35 g or 1.2 oz)
3 garlic cloves
1/3 cup fresh raw nuts or seeds *see notes
1/2 cup high quality parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sea salt, plus a little extra to taste
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Place basil, garlic, nuts, parmesan cheese, lemon, salt and pepper in a food processor, or small blender.
2. Pulse until fairly smooth.
3. Briefly blend in olive oil, just until incorporated and pesto is the texture you desire.
5. Store covered in fridge.
Pine nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin almonds, pecans all work well. Go ahead and use a mixture, if desired. Check to make sure that your nuts, or seeds taste fresh before making pesto as they can cause it to taste bitter if they're rancid.
Blending olive oil at a high speed can cause it to turn bitter, so don't over-blend.
Of course, basil is traditional, but go ahead and try a mixture of greens for variety; arugula, spinach, kale. You could also add a few other types of herbs like parsley, or cilantro.