This recipe is quick, easy and never fails to impress. Classic pesto in Italy is typically made with pine nuts (pignoli), however I love substituting walnuts, pistachios or a even combination of the three at times – the options are unlimited! Here’s my version:
1/2 cup walnuts
3 tbsp chopped garlic (8 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves*
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino
*Different varieties of basil work great. I enjoy combining Italian and cinnamon basil together, especially when complementing pasta.
- In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the walnuts and garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add all the basil leaves, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lemon juice to the walnuts and garlic.
- With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the open tube and process for about 1 minute or until pureed.
- Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses and puree for an additional 30 seconds.
Yield: 4 cups
Store the pesto in a refrigerator for up to a week and in a freezer for up to six months.
Tip: I recently purchased this king size rubber ice cube tray which is great for freezing individual portions. You can enjoy pesto all year round.