Pesto is an all-purpose sauce that requires few ingredients. Throw the following items in a blender or food processor and you'll have a tasty sauce in no time.
Herb + Cheese + Nut
(Plus Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt & Pepper)
Classic RecipeBasil + Parmesan + Pinenuts
SubstitutesGreens - Parsley, Arugula, Spinach
Cheese - Pecorino, Asiago
Nuts - Walnuts, Almonds
Arugula-based RecipeArugula + Parmesan + Walnuts
Add Jalapeno for a kick, or try red pepper flakes
Parley-based RecipeParsley + Parmesan + Almonds
Add chives as sub for garlic
Nut-free RecipeBasil + Parmesan + Olives
Add lemon zest and lemon juice for added brightness
~~ TIPS ~~
Toasted NutsRoast nuts to release more flavor. Place nuts without oil on a pan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat when slightly browned and fragrant. Be sure to shake and watch them as they can burn very quickly. Transfer and cool before using.
I find that if nuts taste stale, giving them this warm up in a skillet will instantly make it better.
TextureIt's your personal preference if you like your pesto thick and more thin. You can always dilute thick sauce by adding pasta water.
The sauce can harden or separate in the fridge. This is normal. Just bring to room temp and stir before using.
ApplicationsCommon uses include pasta sauce, marinade, or spread. Here are some suggestions for how you can integrate pesto into your cooking.
Herb GardenPesto is good to make when you have an excess of fresh herbs. Here's a little guide on growing your own basil at home.
Shelf LifeHomemade pesto can be kept in the fridge and used within a week or so. If the leaves are turning brown, that's a sign it's no longer fresh. You can also freeze it up to several months. I like to write expiration dates on masking tape and stick to tupperware and mason jars.
Do you have any favorite pesto recipes or applications?