I’m going to go ahead and dedicate this post to my food processor. Medium-sized and sturdy, it can handle nearly every job I throw at it. (I only say nearly because I don’t want to jinx myself here.) Specifically, it is the essential tool for making one of my all-time favorite condiments (not just for pasta, folks!): pesto. I’ll call it a condiment because it’s way more versatile than something like ketchup for me.
When I make a batch, I like to freeze small portions to keep it fresh. It’s easy to defrost quickly if you submerge the container in warm water. I store mine in small jars or good tupperware containers.
A standard pesto involves basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil but it’s pretty common these days to swap in any number of other things. Sun-dried tomatoes and macadamia nuts instead of basil and pine nuts is a stand out variation - fancy, and ridiculously tasty.
I used walnuts in mine recently because I love them and usually have a bunch on hand.
And with the help of my pretty new balcony basil plant, I hope to keep the fresh pesto coming all summer long.
Some ideas for an abundance of pesto:
- Pasta: incorporated with hot or cold pasta dishes, layered in lasagna
- Sandwiches: on a grilled cheese is a favorite
- Salads: Mixed with some extra olive oil and a touch of good balsamic as a dressing for a salad or drizzled on tomatoes and fresh mozzarella as a variation on a Caprese salad
- Pizza: generously spread over the base
- Potatoes: as a topping for a baked potato, or whipped in with a mash with roasted garlic
- Roasted or Steamed Veggies: over Broccoli, zucchini, carrots, etc. and topped with extra parmesan
- Eggs: mixed in with scrambled eggs (green eggs n’ ham!)
- Soup: as a garnish (voila, soupe au pistou)
- As a filling: mixed with ricotta to be used as a filling for zucchini flowers or stuffed mushrooms
- Fish or Chicken: as a topping and/or marinade
- As a spread: on crackers as a part of a cheese platter
- Burger: as a topping (lamb burger with a mint pesto? oh yes.)
And now, on to our 5-ingredient pesto…
1 1/2 cups basil
1/4 toasted walnuts
2 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
5 tablespoons olive oil
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan on a medium heat until golden and fragrant. Place the first 4 ingredients and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a food processor and process, add the remaining olive oil slowly and process until everything is very finely chopped and combined. Add extra olive oil if needed.
Oh hey! Before you go…
On the kitchen playlist: M83, Album: Hurry up We’re Dreaming
Can’t wait to try: Pure Pops at the Bondi Farmer’s Market tomorrow. I’ve had my eye on them for a couple of weeks now!