There are some who may disagree with me, but I say there are no hard & fast rules for making pesto.
Basil, parsley, or cilantro; pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds; parmesan or pecorino romano; a little or a lot of olive oil… I’ve made many versions of this condiment over the years.
This particular one came together based on what I had in the fridge last week – so feel free to sub in whatever type of herbs/nuts/hard cheeses you have lying around.
Now that we have the logistics out of the way, let’s talk about the vast array of what to do with pesto!
Toss it with pasta and top with an extra grating of cheese. Use it to marinate chicken before grilling to juicy perfection. Smear it on whole wheat bread and layer on your favorite sandwich fillings. Sub it in for red sauce and pair with freshly sliced mozzarella cheese and shrimp for a delicious pizza. Serve it alongside crackers and crudite as a snack or party hors d’oeuvre.
Eat it with a spoon.
The versatility of this verdant spread/sauce/dip is only one of its accolades.
Pesto is also incredibly easy to make. Toss the ingredients into a food processor, whirl away, and you’re done! It stores well in the refrigerator for a while as well, so you can dip into the jar whenever a craving strikes.
What… you’ve never had a craving for pesto? You might after making this one!
The crunchy bits of walnut, fragrant basil aroma, bright acidity from the lemon, salty undertones from the cheese, and silkiness of the olive oil combine to create a truly crave-able condiment.
What’s your favorite way to serve/eat pesto?
Basil Walnut Pesto
yield: 3/4 cup (six 2 tablespoon servings)
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
- scant 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place walnut halves in the bowl of a food processor (I used my 14-cup bowl). Process until finely chopped.
- Add in the basil leaves and garlic cloves. Pulse until incorporated and no large pieces of garlic remain.
- Pulse in the lemon juice and grated cheese.
- With the lid on and motor running, stream in the olive oil.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Nutritional Information per 2 Tbsp serving:
185.7 calories, 18.3 grams fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat, 1.1 grams fiber, 0.4 grams sugar, 4.8 grams protein