I LOVE basil so pesto is my favorite “go to” ingredient for flavoring many dishes. Most of year I use a jarred pesto from Costco (which is featured in many posts) but this time of the year, I make my own garden fresh pesto. I’m so excited to have an abundance of beautiful basil growing in our garden. I always request that my husband plant extra basil plants so I have plenty of basil throughout the summer. Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy and is a sauce traditionally made from basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan Reggiano. There are many varieties of pesto ranging from parsley, arugula, spinach to sun-dried tomato but my favorite is the original basil pesto. The only change I make is that I substitute walnuts for pine nuts because I always have walnuts on hand (and the extra dose of omega-3 fatty acids is a bonus).
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 cups packed basil leaves
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano
1/3 cup walnuts
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Place garlic in the food processor and blend until minced. Add basil, Parmesan cheese, walnuts and freshly ground pepper, process until basil is finely minced (about 15 seconds). With food processor running, drizzle olive oil through chute at the top of processor just until blended. Add a small amount of warm water if needed to thin the sauce. Feel free to change the proportions of the ingredients to suit your taste. Makes about 1 cup. Store in a glass jar with a lid. To keep the surface from browning, drizzle some olive oil on top of the pesto. You can freeze pesto in ice cube trays, pop out the pesto cubes and store in freezer bags in the freezer for a later use.
Nutrition Note: Use pesto on pasta, roasted vegetables, potatoes, eggs and fish. Pesto is rich in calcium, vitamin E, Vitamin A and potassium. Because pesto has such a rich flavor, a little goes a long way. The serving size for pesto is 1 tablespoon.
For tips on the 5 herbs everyone should grow, visit Main Line Haven-Garden to Table.