Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto alla genovese), and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep's milk). Pesto is traditionally prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. First, garlic and pine nuts are placed in the mortar and reduced to a cream, then the washed and dried basil leaves are added with coarse salt and ground to a creamy consistency. Only then is a mix of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino added. To help incorporate the cheese a little extra-virgin olive oil is added.
Over time and due to various reasons like taste preferences and availability of certain ingredients, pesto is now used as a generic term to describe any dip that has at least a couple of ingredients from the list above! I have tasted Mint Pesto, Basil Pesto with Almonds, Kale Pesto and this Walnut Basil Pesto to name a few.
Pesto is such a welcome change to the mundane marinara and alfredo sauces in pasta as well as pizza, leave alone the fact that we can cut a ton of calories too. The bright green color looks great on dishes, and tastes really awesome too. The recipe is simpler than the other sauces, as you only need to blend together a bunch of ingredients and storing the sauce is so easy too. In a tight jar (or simply in an air-tight plastic container), covered by a layer of extra-virgin olive oil, pesto can last in the refrigerator up to a week, and can be frozen for later use.
So here is a simple Walnut Pesto recipe, that is made from basil, walnuts, garlic and olive oil. If you want a richer pesto, add some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to it and enjoy a creamy pesto straight from the food processor jar! The recipe is so ridiculously easy and quick, that it will force you to bid good-bye to all store bought pestos!
Basil leaves 2 cups
Walnuts ¼ cup
Garlic 2-3 Cloves
Olive Oil ¼ cup
Sea Salt 1 tsp
Roast ¼ cup walnuts for a couple of minutes till they release their fragrance. Remove the leaves from the basil, rinse them and drain. Add them to a food processor. Also add chopped garlic, roasted walnuts, olive oil and salt. Blend it all to a paste.
Blend the paste according to your choice of consistency. Remove from food processor and use it as a spread on breads, toasts, pizza or as a pasta sauce. The pesto sauce is an amazing alternative for the traditional pizza or pasta sauce.