I was thrilled when we moved into this house this past July to discover that there was a little garden in the back yard and it had basil in it. I loooove basil, I eat it like lettuce and often grew it when I lived in NY. At first the plants were a bit sad…I’m sure this has to do with it being about 110 for most of July and August, but we watered them every night and I diligently pruned them. They perked right up to glorious heights and to my delight, our long summers also mean long grow season, and I still have abundant basil out there. I’ve been wanting to make pesto for a few weeks, and last nights rain made me crave pasta and finally take the time to do it. I was also way over due for a pruning which was even more motivation.
I searched a few weeks ago for a recipe with almonds instead of pine nuts as I had a bad reaction to a batch of pine nuts a few years ago and have been wary of them ever since. I however, collected about three recipes which all used different ratios of the same ingredients and made my own up. Besides the almond switch, I also prefer my pesto on the thicker side…more of a paste then a sauce as I find it make its easier to cook with later in the week as you can oil in if needed down the road.
I opted to toast the almonds for about 10 minutes (keep on eye on them so they don’t burn) on a dry half sheet pan in an oven at 350. Also note that this is a huge batch as I was pruning/harvesting leaves and went a bit over board…I’ll be freezing pesto, that’s for sure! (freeze it in ice cube trays as a great way to freeze portions)
Basil Almond Pesto
Number of servings: approx 30 2 tbsp servings
4 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup whole roasted almonds, freshly toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a food processor, blend the almonds and garlic until ground well.
2. Add basil, cheese and oil and pulse together until well combined, but do not over mix.
3. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
Last night I served it simply over whole wheat rotini, and it was delicious! Today however, I got a bit crazy…
I sliced a leftover cooked hot italian sausage and heated it in a pan with a handful of the rotini, a couple of tbsp of pesto and a diced beet! It looks and sounds a bit odd, but it was pretty amazing!
Any recommendations of what to make with pesto are appreciated!