Original recipes for basil pesto use pine nuts. I've never made it with anything except pecans.
Pesto is good in pasta, chicken, pasta salad, soups, potatoes, pizza.... It can be brushed on bread and toasted a little in the oven. It can be put in calzones and brushed on top. You can add sun dried tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes when you use it in whatever you're cooking. You can throw a lump into your spaghetti sauce for a quick boost of flavor. It can be overdone, so be careful of turning everything green or using too much.
You can process it very finely into a paste, or make it a little coarse. You can use more or less spinach, or none at all. More or less garlic to taste also. Once you've made it and tasted it on your noodles you can decide how strong to make it next time. Of course fresh basil is best, but people also make it with dried basil and fresh spinach. If you freeze pesto you can leave out the cheese if you want, adding it to your dish later. Some people say the cheese doesn't freeze very well.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, firmly packed (no branches)
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach
- ½ cup Parmesan or Romano cheese (the better the quality, the better the taste)
- ½ cup pecans
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ fruit fresh or lemon juice (optional. Just keeps it brighter green)
- ½ cup olive oil
Pack your measuring cup with the basil, but this isn't an exact science.
while you're still looking for a big sharp knife!
Once it's to your desired consistency start adding the oil slowly as the machine runs.
Smell that heavenly smell!
(originally posted in July 2009)