You can make batches of this recipe and store it in your fridge or the freezer. It is very handy and you can use it in different food preparations just like the good old basic tomato sauce. The classic pesto recipe calls for pine nuts or pinoglis (to the Italians) and parmegiano reggiano. Well, those are quite expensive ingredients and hardly available in the grocery store but fortunately there are affordable and easily available alternatives to those. Here’s an easy and more economical version. Again the recipe is just a guide, you can alter it to suit your taste. If you’re planning to store it in the freezer for future use, omit the cheese, just add it when you reheat the pesto.
PESTO (Basil & Walnut)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts or cashew
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
First make sure that your basil leaves are thoroughly cleaned (swirl them in a bowl of water and dry, if you have a salad spinner, that would be dandy).
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade*, put garlic and nuts and begin pulsing it for about 10 seconds, then add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper; with the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until smooth. Add in the grated cheese and process for a few more seconds. That’s it, you’re done! Store left-overs in the fridge, covered with a cling wrap, making sure that it touches the surface of the pesto to prevent it from darkening; it’ll last up to a week.
* If you don’t have a food processor, use mortar and pestle or just chopped everything with a very sharp knife (the classic way); or use a blender, though I don’t recommend using it, it’s too deep and it’s tough to reach behind the blades just to get all those precious pesto out.