2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 t sea salt
Pulse basil, walnuts, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor. Add oil in small batches and blend until mixed well. Stir in grated parmesean cheese.
)You can start with fresh basil or basil that has been preserved. To preserve fresh basil, I use 2 cups basil blended with 1/2 cup olive oil and frozen into cubes and stored in a baggie. It keeps all winter untill you can start growing again.
Pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, but I prefer to use walnuts for their Omega 3's (and they're usually cheaper). You can toast in a cast iron pan over low to medium heat, stirring for 10 minutes or in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
For basic pesto, dice a clove of garlic and blend as directed (the Magic Bullet is great for this) and and stir in grated parmesean cheese.
For an heirloom tomato caprese salad, make pesto as directed, then slice tomatoes and layer with fresh mozzarella cheese and serve with toasted crostini (see below). This is also a great party appetizer. Instead of ciabatta bread, use a sliced and toasted baguette and spread out on a platter, speckled with chunks of salami or pepperoni slices and olives. Your guests will thank you.
Crostini: slice some Kroger's LaBrea ciabatta bread, drizzle on some olive oil and bake for about 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees (i use a toaster oven) then rub a cut garlic clove over the hot bread. The best garlic bread ever!
Leftovers? Marinate some diced tomatoes in pesto for 20 minutes. Top prepared crostini (above) with mozzarella and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes at 400 to melt. Top with tomato mixture, a little salt, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
YUM! Serve with a good Pinot Noir.
Toss pesto with your favorite pasta! Here you see farfalle with pesto and sauteed shiitake mushrooms with a cold wheat beer.