The Besto of Pesto

Our vegetable and herb gardens sometimes dictate what we cook, can, and preserve. This week it was unavoidable, our herb garden demanded that we do something about our overabundance of basil. Recall that we planted both common basil and sweet basil in May. Both plants are mightily over performing. On top of that, our CSA, Waterpenny Farm, added a third variety of basil in last Thursday’s half share. That’s right – basil here, basil there, basil everywhere. Something had to be done.

Amazingly resourceful wife responded in her usual fashion. She hit the Internet running, searching, and seeking a quick, easy, and inexpensive pesto recipe. First she found that recipes abound and they are all pretty much the same. Second, she noticed that pine nuts are used in many of those recipes. Folks, pine nuts are expensive and wife is almost as cheap as I am. She then doubled down and sought an inexpensive alternative to pine nuts. Voila! Success! The answer was walnuts – and the soon to be world famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen had nearly a pound and a half of walnuts ready to go. So, brilliantly enterprising wife declared the Allrecipes Walnut Pesto recipe the winner.

The beauty of this recipe stems from three important facts:

  • It only takes 10 minutes to prepare;
  • It wisely substitutes raw or toasted walnuts in place of expensive pine nuts; and
  • You can make any number of ingredient additions to modify flavor and texture.

Serving Size: Two servings

Recipe Ingredients:

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  • 2 cups basil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (optional, we didn’t use it)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBS. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

Recipe Directions:

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  • Blend basil, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice together in a food processor until pesto has a paste-like consistency.
  • Taste then add salt and pepper as desired.

Now, I suspect most of you out there know how to make pasta. (Mr. Monte would laugh at you if you admitted you can not.) Nevertheless, reserve a bit less than a cup of water from the pasta before draining. When you return the pasta to the pot and add the pesto, add the reserved water to aid the pesto in mixing with the pasta.

We recommend that you serve this walnut pesto pasta with salad and wine. Simple, fast, cheap, and tasty a perfect meal when you have lots of basil and very little time. Enjoy!

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