I love pesto! Its really a bright green thing of beauty. All of these ingredients can stand alone, so combined together, it’s a match made in heaven! The fresh taste (not to mention the smell) of basil blends with just a few simple ingredients, and in 5 minutes you have a quick and easy dish that’s not just delicious but versatile too. Right now with all the fresh produce available to us, why not take advantage and make this fresh, nutty no-cook sauce that has it all.
Today at Rogowski Farm in Pine Island, N.Y., I picked up some gorgeous fresh pepper greens:
And some Basil from my container garden (plus a little extra from the farm):
Its bright green color and peppery taste got me thinking: While I’m making basil pesto, why don’t I try the same recipe with pepper greens?
I decided to use toasted pecans in place of pine nuts for a different taste. Well, perfection can’t even describe it. Pesto doesn’t have to be just basil! It’s extra peppery bite tasted spicy and fresh. As I was tasting it (for quality control of course) I nearly finished half of it! Very addictive.
So if you have extra herbs or greens, using this simple recipe mix and match them along with different nuts and grating cheeses and you will have on hand your own truly unique pesto. I believe kale and arugula pesto are in my future!
On a side note, If a green is particularly pungent, I would probably mix it with a milder green such as parsley.
Fresh Fabulous Pesto
Makes approximately 2 cups.
Recipe can be halved for a smaller batch.
- 8 cups fresh basil, cleaned and dried
- 6 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 cup pine nuts ( toast if you want a slightly nuttier flavor)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup pecorino romano cheese grated ( I like Locatelli )
Food processor or blender
In the bowl of the food processor put all the basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt and cheese.
Fit lid on top . With the blender or processor running, slowly pour the oil through the top in a stream. Process until the oil is emulsified with the basil. That’s all there is to it!
A few tips~ Add a little less oil to make your pesto great for spreading on sandwiches. Its fabulous with grilled chicken and fish. It’s equally wonderful mixed with a little mayo as a dip but, my current favorite way to eat it is to spread it on warm toasted Italian bread with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a thin slice of tomato sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. One last tip, to toss with pasta or to stir into soups or even Sunday Sauce use the full cup of oil.
Pesto will turn brown fairly quickly, so immediately use or pour into a container, drizzle the top with olive oil to keep air out and the vibrant green color in.
I usually store my pesto in plastic containers. This year, my friend and fellow foodie (and fabulous photographer) Tracy Bodoni O’Connell (from Tracy O’Connell Photography on Facebook); shared with me this great idea of storing and freezing my pesto in mason jars! Genius! The jars are freezer safe (Check the brand you are using before freezing) and does a fabulous job of keeping air out. I also love this idea because it not only looks beautiful, but it also can turn into a great hostess gift that you have on hand. A little ribbon or raffia and you have an instant gift.
As I’m writing this post I have these beauties looking at me!
They started here at the farm:
And now, I get to enjoy them everyday. They may be my favorite flower!