Walnut Basil Pesto


Walnut Pesto

Basil is in abundance this time of year. It’s so fragrant, you can smell it from far away! The beautiful, green leaves are great for making fresh pesto. Consider making a big batch of pesto and storing it in ice cube trays so you can use it in single servings or to enhance sauces.  Pesto isn’t just for pasta, it’s great as a spread for sandwiches, as a dip or salad dressing, added to soups, and as a marinade for meat or fish.

Use a variety of nuts and toast them, as it brings out the oils and adds a nice flavor, consider using parsley or arugula instead of basil. If raw garlic is not your thing, then blanch the cloves in boiling water for a minute before adding to the food processor. There are many variations of pesto recipes, but I like this basic recipe;

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (3-6 large cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place nuts and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed. Add the Parmesan cheese and puree for a minute. Serve, or store in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. Makes 4 cups

Source: Barefoot Contessa



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