Really, the pesto technique can be used with many different herbs and other green leaves as well as other kinds of nuts. I’ve seen recipes (and tried many of them) with arugula, spinach, cilantro and mint (one of my favorites), and sage, as well as with other nuts, such as macadamias and pistachios. I suppose the possibilities depend mostly on your personal taste, and what you planted too much of this year.
Basic Basil Pesto
This recipe makes a relatively thick pesto. If you like it thinner, simply add more olive oil.
3 cups basil leaves
1 cup parsley leaves
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup walnuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons coarse salt
¼ cup olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
1. Place basil, parsley, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, garlic and salt in a food processor. Process until everything is well ground into a coarse paste.
2. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil and process until completely smooth. Add more olive oil if the pesto is too thick.
To serve, toss pesto with hot pasta. Thin with a little pasta cooking water if desired. You can also add pesto to soups, spread it on garlic bread or pizza, or add it to sauces.
The pesto will turn a very dark green, almost brown color after storing. This is natural and still tastes good. Pouring a thin layer of olive oil over the stored pesto can help keep it bright green.
To freeze pesto, portion it out into plastic bags or freezable containers. Seal them into a freezer bag and freeze for a few months (or probably longer). You can also freeze small portions in ice cube trays.