Tranquil Tuesday – Fresh Basil = Pesto!

basil-plant
Basil Plant in my little herb garden.

For today’s Tranquil Tuesday moment I thought I would share one of my favorite make at home foods – pesto!

Three reasons to make pesto at home:

  1. Relatively expensive to buy in restaurants or a store.
  2. Tastes better made at home.
  3. Easy and inexpensive to make.

I grow basil for one primary reason – to make pesto.  (Wish I could come up with a pesto soap that I liked.)  This past winter I had a great flat leaf parsley crop and I used it for pesto as well.  I used to think you could only make pesto with basil and pine nuts.  Not so.  I love it with walnuts and flat leaf parsley as well.  Listed below is my favorite pesto recipe from 365 Ways to Cook Pasta by Marie Simmons.  Enjoy it over your favorite pasta, add a glass of wine and voilà, you’re living the good life!

Walnut Pesto Sauce

thai-basil
Thai Bail in my garden. Have not used this yet for pesto.
  • 1/2 cup broken walnuts
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup packed Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Finely chop the walnuts and the garlic in a food processor; add half the basil and salt; coarsely chop.  Add the remaining basil and the parsley.  With the food processor running, add the oil in a slow steady stream through the feed tube until mixture is thoroughly blended.  Transfer to a bowl; fold in the cheese.
  2. Remove 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid before draining the pasta.  Toss hot pasta with the sauce and the reserved cooking liquid.  Serve at once with additional cheese, if desired.

Note:  Pesto freezes very well if the cheese is left out and added to the sauce once it is thawed and ready to use.

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