Mmmm, Pesto…it’s so savory and versatile. With more basil than I can handle in my garden right now, how could I not make some pesto to put up this past weekend? I usually double this recipe and freeze it.
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
Blend olive oil, basil, garlic, parmesan and pine nuts (if using) in a blender or food processor. I’ve used both; I find a food processor to be much easier, but it can be done in a blender.
If I don’t have pine nuts on hand, or if I’m feeling too cheap to buy them, I might substitute almonds, which I almost always have in the house. Toasted and blended into pesto, they add a nice flavor. You can also leave the pine nuts out completely if you have guests with an allergy to nuts.
Variations on Pesto:
- Throw an avocado into the blender for a very creamy pesto
- Experiment with different varieties of nuts, like walnuts, pine nuts or almonds (just remember to toast them first, which prevents bitterness)
- Add in arugula for a zippier taste
- Switch some of the parmesan for pecorino cheese
- Add in parsley and/or cilantro
How to use Pesto:
- Put it on a pizza, topped with the veggies & cheese of your choice
- Toss it with tortellini and chunky tomatoes and fresh basil
- Slather in a sandwich with mozzarella and tomato
- Use it as a dip for sliced veggies like peppers and carrots
- In this awesome recipe for grilled pesto potatoes