A few years ago, Alex made pesto for dinner from scratch. Until then, we'd only had pesto from a jar, which was dark green and tasty. But this homemade pesto took it to the next level. We couldn't believe how bright and vibrant it was, and it tasted like we were eating basil right out of the garden. So I'm thrilled that Kelly from The Best Remedy is sharing her favorite recipe (and it's easy!)...
The Best Pesto You'll Ever Have
By Kelly Carámbula of The Best Remedy (formerly Eat Make Read) and the food magazine Remedy Quarterly
Fresh pesto is bright, bold and easy to boot. Once you know the basics of pesto, you can make simple substitutions to mix things up and continue getting fresh flavors throughout the year.
Makes approx. 1 cup
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2 garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet for 3 to 4 minutes—watch closely, you just want them to get golden, not brown. This will bring out their flavor, giving the pesto a more robust flavor.
With your pine nuts toasted and cooled, it's time to whip up this pesto—it's a snap, I promise. In the bowl of your food processor, combine the basil leaves, parmesan cheese, garlic cloves and salt. Process for about 10 seconds, then slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. That's it!
Now all you have to decide is what to do with it.
Toss it with pasta: I prefer spaghetti or linguini with pesto, but use whatever shape you like. Reserve some of the pasta water and add a little of it to the pesto when you toss it—this will help the pesto incorporate throughout the pasta.
Risotto: This is great for cooler months. Just stir the pesto into the risotto before serving.
Crostini: Go the super simple route and simply spread the pesto over a piece of toast. Or get a touch fancier and combine the pesto with a little ricotta, spread it over toast and sprinkle with a touch of sea salt. Delicious!
Once you've got the basic recipe down, go ahead and experiment. Pesto is a balance of greens/nuts/oil/garlic/cheese. Try experimenting with some of those things.
Instead of basil, try:
1 cup chives for a more oniony flavor
A handful of ramps (about 10) for a spring pesto
Instead of pine nuts, try:
Here are a few other versions I've tried: mint + poblano pesto, walnut pesto, ramp pesto
Delicious! Thanks, Kelly!
P.S. More best recipes, including hummus and apple pie...
(Photos and recipe by By Kelly Carámbula of The Best Remedy and the food magazine Remedy Quarterly. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series)