A simple and quick pasta dish made with an easy basil pesto sauce.
Pesto is traditionally made with basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil. The combination of those simple flavors makes an amazing sauce. It's a great addition to just about everything from pasta and pizzas to sandwiches and soups. A little pesto adds big flavor.
A little #pesto adds big flavor | Pesto Pasta [Tweet this]
Often I find that store-bought pesto sauce can be kind of expensive. It's so simple to make and so delicious fresh that it's worth the time and effort to make your own. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find fresh basil and pine nuts at smaller grocery stores and they can be pricey. The great news is you can make a pesto sauce with any green herb or vegetable and any nut. The flavor will be different, obviously, but it will still be fresh and delicious. The trick is to use green herbs or vegetables with a strong flavor that you enjoy such as arugula, kale, parsley, chives, garlic scapes; I've even seen a recipe for broccoli pesto. Just use what you have and be creative.
Pesto is very versatile | Pesto Pasta [Tweet this]
For this pesto, I used basil and a little parsley. I grow both in small pots out on my lanai and as long as I keep them watered they grow well year round (they make great indoor plants too if you live in a cold climate). I didn't have quite enough basil for a full recipe of pesto so I added the parsley. I didn't have pine nuts on hand but I always have pecans so I used those. They don't add the flavor that pine nuts do but they add a very nice mild nutty flavor. Parmesan is always a staple in my kitchen, and the same goes for garlic and olive oil. Since I had everything on hand, the pesto whipped up in no time (thanks to my food processor), was incredibly fresh, inexpensive, and absolutely delicious.
Pesto Pasta is a quick, fresh, and tasty meal. [Tweet this]
Basil and Parsley Pesto
Cook and prep time: 15 minutes
2 cups basil and parsley, chopped and packed in any combination
2-3 cloves garlic
1 handful pecans
1/4 cup parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
Place all of the ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. With the chopping blade, pulse until the ingredients are well chopped and mixed. Wipe down the sides with a spatula.
Then, turn the processor on and slowly stream in the olive oil until everything is well mixed and creamy.
Remove the pesto to a small covered bowl and let rest for at least 1 hour for the flavors to meld. I've kept fresh pesto in the fridge for up to a week and even frozen it with fine results. Allow the pesto to come to room temperature before tossing it with warm pasta.
Top with fresh cracked pepper and parmesan.
Pesto is great tossed with pasta but it's also great as a spread on sandwiches, pizza, or garlic bread. Try it in salad dressings and soups. Pesto adds a big punch of flavor to any recipe.
For more recipes to use pesto in or with check out: