This is my basic Pesto recipe. There is a hundred and one ways to make Pesto. I’ve tried several variations and honestly I loved them all. Walnuts or pecans; with spinach; no lemon; roasted garlic and pine nuts; and/or different cheese. Any way you puree it up – fresh pesto beats the pants off anything you can buy at the market.
Personally I love this good ol’ basic version with the brightness of lemon and touch of spice from crushed red pepper. You can make it thicker with less oil and utilize it as a paste – say for roasting meat in the oven. Or you could thin it out with more oil, water, vinegar, or stock and use it as a marinade or dressing. And just like there is a hundred and one ways to make it, well there are twice as many ways to use it. So don’t feel like you are bound to dressing pasta or roasted potatoes.
A bonus side to adding the lemon, besides the awesome bright flavor addition of lemon, is the sustaining factor it brings to the table. This is my pesto after 3 1/2 weeks in the fridge! Still lovely and green – all thanks to the preservative quality of the citrus. So you can make it ahead and not worry about it looking like it has gone south! TIP: You can also make it and seal it with a layer of olive oil to help keep it fresh and green.
I finally set my “everyday” recipe to paper. Truth be told, I usually just make it without measuring and I encourage you to do the same! For example, add more cheese, nuts, or less – make it your own and use what you love! Like lemon…
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
(or juice of about 1/2 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper,
or more to taste
- 2/3 cup EVOO, good quality
DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients, except olive oil to a food processor, pulse to combine and chop ingredients while streaming in olive oil. Puree until smooth and consistent. Remember to use more or less oil till you reach the desired consistency.
Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator; add oil to coat if desired.
Over the next few days I’m going to share some recipes that utilize this sauce!
Herbs are delicious,