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Pesto w/o Pine Nuts

August 10th, 2010

For years, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t love pesto. Basil, garlic, cheese, olive oil? I should want to bathe in it. But every time I had it, I just wasn’t a big fan. After I ate another dish containing pine nuts, I realized the problem was that I really dislike pine nuts. And my love affair with pesto began. I mentioned this on Facebook a few weeks ago and my college friend Laurie asked for the recipe. Anytime someone asks for a recipe, I feel a little panicky. I really do want to share – I love sharing how to make good and simple dishes. But unless I plan ahead of time to share something, I never measure anything. I might glance at some recipes to get some ratios in my head but then I just do it and adjust until it tastes/looks like it should. I made it again and tried to pay a little more attention to how much I put in but pesto is one of those things that you really can’t mess up. Be aware that the consistency can vary greatly. Some people make it with A LOT of olive oil and it becomes a sauce. Mine tends to be closer to a loose paste consistency but when put over warm pasta the cheese melts and it becomes more sauce-like. (I just don’t like it too oily.) Feel free to keep adding oil until you get the consistency you want.


Fresh Basil (2 cups-ish of leaves) – you can also add other fresh herbs you like…I threw in a little parsley

Parmesan or Asiago cheese – 2-3 oz

Nuts of your choosing – I used a generous 1/2 cup of walnuts and 1/4 cup pistachios (toasted quickly in a hot skillet)

3 cloves fresh garlic

3 Tablespoons Water

Olive Oil (between 1/4 and 1/3 cup)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon (helps keep color green and adds acid) OR a tablespoon balsamic vinegar for acid

Salt is option – the cheese is pretty salty so I tend not to add any

Throw everything except the Olive Oil into the food processor and combine. After it combines, drizzle in your oil (with food processor running) until you hit the consistency that seems right for you. Taste it. If you taste too much cheese or nut, add more basil. I ended up adding another small handful of basil in addition to the strainer pictured above.

Toss it with the pasta of your choosing. We had it with chicken sausages and a green salad.

This makes enough for several meals. It can also be frozen. You can freeze small portions in ice cube trays and use the cubes in soups and sauces in the winter for a nice, bright flavor. I also like it spread on sandwiches instead of mustard or mayo.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 at 1:17 pm and is filed under food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Pesto w/o Pine Nuts”

  1. nora Says:

    1.) Congrats on your new house! I’m excited to hear more about it and so glad you are so excited about it. It was fun reading your excitement on FB and Twitter.

    2.) Recipie looks great. I’m in for tonight!

  2. Laurie Mitchell Says:

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!! (and for the record, I don’t measure anything either!!)

  3. MamaK Says:

    Ok you inspired me! I have been wanting to try pesto as I have a buttload o basil in my garden but I never have pine nuts on hand (and hello they are pricey). I made this tonight w/ walnuts and pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds). SO good! W was eating it by the spoonful and I had to shoo him away so we’d have some left for the pasta. 🙂

  4. Stephanie Says:

    Mmm. That looks DELICIOUS. I haven’t had fresh pesto in quite some time.

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