How you doin’? Let me introduce you Emily. Sweet Emily is my current basil plant—she replaced dear Vera who had gotten a bit seedy. You can usually find small fresh basil pots in many supermarket produce sections.
I keep fresh basil on hand because I love the taste of fresh, sweet basil for sandwiches, salads and pesto. Now to some people pesto is an acquired taste and they prefer a good old-fashioned tomato or Alfredo sauce on their pasta instead. We found that blending a combination of pesto and marinara or Alfredo cheese sauce may be the perfect solution for those who are a bit timid with pesto alone.
Most Italian chefs make their pesto with pine nuts—I make mine with roasted almonds. You can save a bundle using windowsill-grown basil and almonds in place of pricier nuts. What you’ll love is how easy this no-cook recipe is easy to make—perfect to keep your kitchen cool during the summer months. For me, the perfect summer meal is stuffed pasta sautéed in brown butter sauce and topped with a little pesto, a small salad and some nice sourdough bread for sopping up the pesto or just spread the pesto directly on some freshly grilled garlic bread.
Pesto is easy to store in the refrigerator, just drizzle a little olive oil over the top to prevent it from oxidizing. I keep my pesto in a vacuum-pump container (very handy in the kitchen).
Prep time: 5 minutes—that’s it!
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
2 cups fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese shreds
3/4 cup whole roasted almonds (skin on)
1/2 cup light olive oil, or more as needed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
ChefSecret: You can make pesto with a variety of other ingredients—walnut, cashews, macadamia nuts and spinach instead of sweet basil.
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