Pesto is definitely a taste of summer. Flavourful and aromatic basil, mixed with crunchy, rich and creamy nuts, cheese and some olive oil is a deceptively simple sauce, and adored by many.
While traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts, if you don't have any on hand you can also give this recipe a try with raw walnuts, or use a combination of both!
2 cups basil leaves, packed lightly
1/2 cup pine nuts*
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, or more to taste
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
*If you don't have pine nuts, walnuts also work very well in this recipe, or use a combination of both!
In a food processor fitted with the metal S blade, add the garlic cloves and process until chopped and stuck to the sides of the processor bowl. Scrape down the sides and add basil leaves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Pulse until everything is combined and broken down into a crumbly mixture, not yet a paste.
Now with the food processor running continuously drizzle the olive oil in slowly, this will help it emulsify, start with 1/3 cup. Add more olive oil as needed to aid in processing, or to preference for the thickness of your sauce. It should be creamy yet still have some chunks of texture from the pine nuts and flecks of green basil leaves.
If you want to use the pesto as a spread, or mix it in with a cream sauce you may want to make it thicker and only use the 1/3 cup olive oil. If you'll be tossing it in with fresh pasta then more oil is helpful in dispersing it though the pasta and is extra tasty.
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