Pesto is one of those things that will never go out of style.
My version of basil pesto is fairly traditional. Basil, pine nuts and good quality olive oil and Parmigiano (not parmesan) make for a great pesto. The only ingredient not so classic in my rendition is lemon, but I like the hint of acidity. You can also easily make this vegan! Simply leave out the cheese and add a few more nuts for flavor. I’m sure nutritional yeast would a good vegan addition, too. I’ve used this product at one of my jobs in the past, but haven’t specifically tested it out in my pesto, so I did not include it as a substitution in the ingredient list. If anyone makes pesto this way, let me know!
Pesto is great with chicken, shrimp, potatoes and pasta (of course) to name a few options. While basil is still in abundance this season, it’s a great time to make extra pesto and freeze it. Use jars rather than porous plastic containers, if possible. Top off the pesto with oil to coat, and you’re set. Anyway, enough talk. Time to eat some pesto.
- 6C (2.25 oz) basil leaves, loosely packed
- ½ C (2.5 oz) toasted pine nuts or walnuts (add extra 1-2T, if vegan)*
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ C (0.5 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated (omit if vegan)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Combine the nuts and garlic in a food processor or good quality blender, and pulse until finely ground. Add basil, season lightly with salt and drizzle in a small amount of the oil. Process until finely chopped, but do not over-process.
- Stream in olive oil slowly while blending until a thick paste forms. Add cheese and pulse to combine. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Enjoy.
- Yields about 1 1/4 cup of pesto.
- To toast pine nuts, add them to a small, cold pan. Turn heat to medium. Toss frequently as nuts gently toast, for about 3-4 minutes or until fragrant and golden, not dark brown.