One of my favorite things about basil pestos is that you kind of have to get to know them to love them. Green and somewhat slimey, they aren’t the most estetically pleasing of sauces; it is easy to see how a stranger to pesto could be apprehensive. However, a good pesto can sweep you off your feet at first bite.
Pesto is kind of en vogue right now, I’ve seen a bunch of recipes I’m interested in trying for pea pestos or sun-dried tomato pestos. This recipe is for a basil pesto, and I think it is a lip-smacking good recipe. I’ll tell you quickly, about how I came up with the name:
I was plating dinner and my younger brother asked me what I was eating (Tangent: he is EXTREMELY picky. The last green thing he ate was probably mint chocolate chip ice cream… I’ll be made the next pope before he eats pesto). My response was, “Pesto, but its really good pesto. The best pesto! Wanna try?”
His response was simple, “So its Besto?” So it’s Besto now. And no, he wouldn’t try it. Don’t let that put you off; he doesn’t even like mashed potatoes… So yeah, he’s that picky.
Now for the good stuff:
One of the reasons I really like this recipe is because it incorporates both basil and parlsey. I’ve tried a lot of pesto recipes, most of which called for either basil or parsley, but not both. Using both gives a much stronger and multi-layered flavor. As you can see, I have listed the ingredients and instructions at the bottom, but this recipe is one you can kind of do by sight and taste. I like to use a 2:1 ratio of basil to parsley. I like to think of it in proportions because that’s helpful if I am serving more people and hence need more sauce.
On the subject of nuts: I’ve used both walnuts and pine nuts. I prefer pine nuts, I like their distinct nutty and sweet flavor, but they can be expensive. Using walnuts still gives your pesto a great nutty flavor, but is a little more fiscally conservative (plus I had them in the house already).
Surprise ingredient: Lemon. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I really believe that lemon is like Viagra for cooking. It gives almost everything a little extra oomph! I use both the juice and the zest. I don’t aim for the pesto to have a strong lemon flavor, but I’ve found that lemon works really well in building a great flavor.
I like my pesto punchy. It should have a strong aroma, be bright green and smack your taste buds around (just a little).
Also, this sauce is very versatile. I made it with pasta, but you can serve it with chicken, in a panini, on pizza and I’m sure a multitude of other fun ways.
So please give it a try! I’d love to know how it turns out.
Happy Eating 🙂
2.5 oz Basil
.5 oz Parsley
3 or 4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
Walnuts, chopped (a big handful)
1 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
1 or 2 tsps Salt and Pepper
3-4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Blitz basil and pesto in food processor. Once they are finely chopped, add chopped walnuts and garlic, blitz again.
2. Add lemon juice and zest, blitz. TASTE!!!! Think about the flavor and consistency.
3. Add salt and pepper, blitz. Taste again (important). Add more seasoning if needed.
4. Add olive oil, blitz. You want to be careful here, because you want the sauce to be loose, but not too loose. Add oil in intervals if you feel apprehensive.