Pesto Sauce

I love pesto sauce, but have always been too intimidated to try making it.  However, I was on a basil kick after the success of the Quinoa Caprese Salad (and I still had that leftover Parmesan cheese), so I decided it was time to conquer my fears.

I used this recipe.

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor.  (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.)  Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.  Makes 1 cup.

Pesto sauce in the food processor

I used 1/2 cup of pine nuts, since that’s the size of the only bag of them that I could find (for $3.99, yikes!)  I discovered after the fact that walnuts can be used instead — much, much cheaper.

I didn’t think that all of the ingredients would fit into my baby food processor at once, but I quickly realized how small the basil gets once it’s processed.  The pesto tasted slightly more oily than I would have liked — not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to taste — but next time, I think I’ll use slightly less oil.  But overall, it was yummy.

Justine shared the awesome idea of freezing the pesto in ice cube trays — they really do pop out easily!  Now I have six servings ready to go in plastic baggies in the freezer.

Pesto sauce in ice cube trays

And of course, I was pleased to be able to grate some leftover Parmesan on top of the spaghetti 🙂

Spaghetti with pesto sauce and Parmesan cheese