Basil is easy to grow, and I love the fragrance. It’s also the key ingredients in one of my favorite pasta toppings: pesto. As you can see from the recipe below, you can quickly throw together pesto using a few ingredients. In addition to making a quick vegetarian meal with pesto and pasta, I love to use pesto in other ways.
One favorite is as a topping for grilled salmon. Add a bit lemon juice or zest to your pesto and use a few spoonfuls on each serving of salmon. Another fun way to use pesto is mixed with steamed rice. It’s a nice break from ordinary, plain rice, and takes just moments to prepare. Mix pesto to taste into just-cooked rice and serve. Top with a bit of grated Parmesan for additional flavor.
Pesto is also open to new ingredients. You can use artichokes, kale, spinach, or other greens. Swap out the pine nuts for walnuts. Some red pepper flakes can add a bit heat if that’s what you’re looking for.
Basic Pesto Sauce
By July 21, 2013Published:
- Yield: 1 cup (4 - 6 Servings)
- Prep: 5 mins
Pesto is a great addition to gluten-free pasta dishes. This vegetarian topping is perfect year-round!
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves tightly packed
- 3 cloves garlic or to taste
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese finely grated
- Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse until chopped.
- Add about a half cup of olive and process until all the ingredients are smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. If a bit more olive oil is necessary, add it and process until the oil is incorporated into the sauce.
- Move the pesto to a mixing bowl and incorporate the cheese. Mix thoroughly.