Pesto is a wonderful gift from Genoa, Italy that is perfect tossed with fresh pasta. If your not a tomato fan, this is for you, a great substitute for red tomato sauce. The aroma from homemade pesto is so powerful. Fresh is always best to me, but feel free to grab some already made from the market. Sometimes I mix it up with the nuts I add, sometimes pine nuts other times walnut or cashew. The traditional pesto is made with fresh basil, pine nuts, kosher salt, garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil.
Basil is one of my favorite herbs right up there with Thyme. Basil is originally native to India and other tropical regions of Asia, but best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine. It also plays a major role in Southeast Asian cuisines of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the cuisine of Taiwan. The leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. It’s aroma is soothing and when used fresh adds that extra something to salads, soups and pasta dishes.
- 3/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 4 medium sized garlic cloves
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves packed
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add all ingredients except for basil and olive oil to food processor. Blend with pulsing motion for a minute or so to breakdown and form a paste.
- Next add the basil and with processor running slowly add the oil in a steady stream to blend thoroughly.
- This makes 1 cup of fresh basil pesto which can be used over hot pasta or as a dipping sauce.