Everything's better with pesto, y'all. In 5 minutes flat, you can make a big batch that will add pizzazz to your cooking all week. Or you can take a tip from the fabulous Amy Sedaris and freeze individual portions in an ice cube tray for later use.
Pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, but if I don't have any in my pantry, I throw in whatever kind of nuts I DO have rather than spending an extra six bucks at the store. Experimenting is fun--walnuts are my favourite, and almonds are good too. Next on my list to try is cashews! Your pesto will have a slightly different taste depending on the type of nut you use.
Depending on the size of the basil bunches sold at your grocery store, you may need to tweak the amount of the other ingredients listed below to obtain the flavour and consistency you want. Most recipes call for a lot of olive oil, but I use only a drizzle, which makes my pesto super thick and chunky. Pesto-making is not an exact science, so go crazy with the taste tests and come up with your own custom concoction. If you don't eat dairy, you can omit the parmesan; it will still be delish sans cheese!
Stay tuned for a variety of pestoy meal ideas...in the mean time, try your fresh pesto in my latest addiction, Zoe & Zane's Spinach Brownies...MMM!
Ingredients (makes about 1 cup of pesto):
2 large bunches fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, etc.
1-1/2 to 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/2 shredded parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash & dry the basil leaves. Throw everything into the food processor and give it a whirl!