It's that time of year...harvesting basil and combining it with olive oil, parmigiano-reggiano, a wee bit of garlic, and "something crunchy" as I like to put it. In a world where finding non-Chinese pine nuts has been next to impossible lately, I've been happily substituting organic crunchies of all types in my pesto - from pepitas to cashews to almonds and more, all organic of course.
My recipe is a combination of two favorites - one from the Silver Spoon, the whopper of an Italian volume I've had in my kitchen for years, which is super cheesy, and the other from Bon Appetit magazine, which is quite heavy on the basil. I lessened both, and it goes something like this:
* 2 cups fresh basil
* 1/2 cup chopped crunchies (nut, seeds, etc.)
* 1/2 cup organic olive oil
* 1 tsp minced garlic
* 3/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
Now while many recipes will claim you 'must' have a food processor, that's bunk. If you have blender, that'll do. If you have a mortar & pestle, that'll do. if you have none of the above, toss the nuts in a bag and roll something heavy on them to pulverize the fk outta them. Today my blender was closest at hand, so I tossed the almonds I had on hand (FYI: I got them from the bulk aisle in 'crushed' format which means they were cheaper than the whole ones) to get those crushed up dry and keep from clogging the bottom, then added the rest, gave it a stir, then blended it all. Took longer to go out to my front yard to pick the basil than it did to make the pesto. Put it in a jar and keep it in your fridge, or if you made a ton, put it in your freezer! (And unlike liquids, these won't explode in the freezer if you fill them to the top!)
Note: if you want it tangier, pick asiago. If you want it stronger, pick romano. Just don't get any parmigiano-reggiano that's spelled 'parmesan'.