Pesto is one of those things that I always forget that I love! Its flavor is intense and a little goes a long way. It can be simply tossed with pasta or added to other dishes as an accompaniment. Sometimes I’ll serve it alongside a simple red sauce, or if I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll add it to a baked pasta or lasagna dish. You may not always have basil and pine nuts on hand, but luckily you can get them at most grocery stores. If you want to substitute for the pine nuts, cashews or walnuts will work well too. If you want to add a little cheesi-ness, you can also add a little nutritional yeast. Pesto is also great on grilled veggies, pizza or baked tofu!
(This recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto. You can also freeze it!)
Before getting started making the pesto, lightly toast the pine nuts. Heat a dry skillet, add pine nuts and toast for a few minutes. Move pine nuts around occasionally to toast all sides. This step really makes a difference. It brings out a nice toasted, nutty flavor and some of the oils in the pine nuts!
Now you’re ready to add the ingredients to the food processor (or blender). Add basil, pine nuts, lemon juice. garlic cloves and salt, and blend/puree. Next, slowly add oil until mixture is well-blended and becomes creamy. Taste and adjust salt if necessary and blend a few seconds more!
Toss with hot pasta and serve!
Sprinkle with fresh herbs or nutritional yeast if desired!