The basil keeps getting taller, so it was most definitely time to act; time for pesto! I referred to my trusty favorites, and the barefoot contessa didn’t let me down. Except…
The contessa’s recipe calls for 5 cups (packed!) of basil – way more than my two healthy but not super-sized plants were going to yield; it also makes 4 cups of pesto – a nice amount, but a bit of overkill for a Sunday dinner for just the two of us. *sigh* Back to da google…
I found another pesto recipe that used much less basil, but also seemed to use too little garlic, and there was no call for pignoli or walnuts. I decided to wing it – taking workable parts from each recipe, and we were quite pleased with the results (tho’ I have adjusted the amount of grated parmesan down in the recipe below to reflect what I think I should have used). I served it over mini penne tossed with a bit of the pesto and some crushed red pepper before serving. Add a nice salad and a glass of wine – dinner is served.
•1 cup basil leaves
•1/4 cup each walnuts and pignolis (pine nuts) – OR – try using all walnuts
•4 or 5 cloves chopped fresh garlic (let’s not talk about the jarred stuff, OK? – it’s nasty, baby, nasty; and you know it)
•1/2 cup good olive oil (I used 1/4 cup NICE spicy Italian EVOO and 1/4 cup everyday)
•1/4 cup grated parmesan (I grated some asiago from Tenuta’s)
•1 tsp kosher salt (I used coarse sea salt)
•1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds.
Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.