Thursday, July 9, 2015

Walnut Pesto

This is the first year that I have had great success with fresh basil. How exciting!
Who knew that watering it was the key?
I bought one of the pots at Trader Joe's (as usual), but this year I put it in the hottest corner of my deck and kept it drenched, even soaking in 1-2" of water.  

Beautiful, bountiful... now what do I do with it?
Well, there's the tried and true pesto, but I was fresh out of pine nuts.
I have walnuts. Why not?

We served ours on broiled tilapia fillets, but it would be nice on beef, chicken or pasta.  Also, I like to freeze it in small amounts (ice cubes) and use it in soups and stews.

NOTE:  I added some fresh parsley as I hear it helps to keep your pesto green and not oxidize to black as basil is prone to do.  If you are keeping it in the fridge, smooth off the top and add a little "float" of olive oil to seal it.

When you cut (or pinch...) your fresh basil take it back to the last set of stems/leaves that are sprouting.  That way, it will bush out again after you pinch.  You can keep this $4 plant going all Summer.  Yes, you can.

Makes about 1 cup

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup fresh parsley (optional)
1/2-2/3 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped
1/2 olive oil
1 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper
A squeeze of lemon (optional)

Toast the walnuts and roughly chop.

In a blender or a food processor (don't use the small type like below, it was a bit challenging to fit it all in there... LOL), add the cooled, toasted walnuts, the garlic, the basil, the parsley and the olive oil.  Process/chop to smooth.  Add salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon to taste.  Let sit for 20-30 minutes to allow the tastes to meld and develop.  Yum.  Enjoy


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