Basil Pesto

Well. Clearly it’s been too long.

Too long since I’ve posted, and as evidenced by the photo below, too long since I’ve given this basil plant a trim. Which brings us without further ado to today’s topic … Basil Pesto!

I had a bit of a melt-down/crisis of frustration when I became discouraged by the caliber of my photos. (I’m dissuaded by the fact that producing quality outcomes requires effort and practice. So unfair.) So today, all the photos in my post are brought to you without editing and without apology from my iPhone camera.

Needless to say, my basil plant has been having a good summer, and I’d hate to let any of it go to waste. Pesto is perfect for using up a lot of good basil. In fact, in years when my basil plant hasn’t been quite so stately, I’ve actually hoarded my crop jealously and refrained from making pesto for fear that I would use it all up. (These fears were unfounded – my plant probably would have fared better if I’d trimmed it more. Well, you live, you learn, right?)

Today I thought it would be nice to do a taste test between two different basil pesto recipes. The traditional recipe calls for pine nuts. I’m too cheap to buy pine nuts, so I made one version with walnuts and one with toasted almonds. My royal taste tester and I like both of them, but if push came to shove, we decided we would both pick the almond version. (But then almonds are pretty much my favorite food, so…)  

Aside from the nuts, the recipes were identical. Basil, nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. It’s pretty darned simple. 

Two finished products – now we just have to decide how to use them! Last week I made some pesto and tossed it with warm pasta and grape tomatoes – super basic and delicious. But today I figured I should expand my horizons and try something else. The winning ticket was a very very basic tomato salad. Here’s how basic it was… It contained tomatoes and pesto. You cut up the tomatoes and then you put the pesto on them. I don’t think it’s really worth writing in any greater detail than that.

And the end result was one little piece of a really fantastic summer meal enjoyed al fresco as all summer meals should be. Grilled chili-lime shrimp and sweet potato corn cakes were accompanied by my heirloom tomato salad. (And for dessert, watermelon and chocolate chips. No, not at the same time.)
How can YOU be the lucky owner of your own batch of pesto? Here you go:

Basil Pesto

  • 1 c packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 c walnuts or toasted almonds
  • 1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Artfully arrange all your ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

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