The cricket's chirps become more numerous and louder in late August, the days are less humid and the sun sets a little earlier everyday. It's a sure sign of the end of summer and the end of the basil growing in pots on my front steps.
But then again, it means I need to get busy and make pesto. If you are like me, you've been reading a lot about of “Pesto Mouth”. This happens when you eat Pesto with pine nuts (mainly from China) and end up with a bitter mouth for days and possibly weeks.
I didn’t want to take a chance with my basil crop so I opted to make the substitution with toasted walnuts. I was lucky to come into some sample bags of California Walnuts while attending IFBC in Sacramento this year. Thanks California walnuts!
It is a very easy recipe to make, 5 minutes tops. And what an easy way to prepare a Sunday night supper. Pesto on noodles, pesto on a poached chicken breast, pesto in the refrigerator, and pesto for days!
The recipe is so simple and quick, maybe 5 minutes and you let the food processor do all the work. Pesto freezes well. If you use ice cube trays they can be divided into single serving sizes just perfect for a quick and easy pasta lunch or dinner. If you plan on freezing it omit the cheese until you make it.
* 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
* 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup of pecorino cheese
* Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts evenly on cookie sheet, toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
* If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
* If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Pesto can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.