I often purchase fresh pesto already made, particularly when I’m in a hurry, but it is really delicious homemade too. It’s great on things like gluten free pasta, zucchini noodles, gluten free bread, chicken, fish, etc.
I use toasted almonds in mine, though pine nuts are certainly the more traditional choice. They’re just a bit more expensive. Walnuts can also be used. I have even heard of people with nut allergies, who can tolerate sunflower seeds, using those. Whichever way you choose to go, toasting them for a few minutes adds another layer of flavor to your pesto.
- fresh basil - 3 cups (packed)
- almonds, pine nuts or walnuts - 1/2 cup (toasted)
- olive oil - 2/3 cup (more if you like)
- garlic - 1 Tablespoon (minced)
- parmesan, romano, pecorino or another cheese - 1/2 cup
- lemon - to taste
- salt & pepper - to taste
To toast the almonds: In a dry skillet, heat the almonds, stirring them over a medium heat. When they turn a golden brown they're ready.
In a blender or food processor add the fresh basil leaves, olive oil, garlic and toasted almonds. Grind or chop together until the nuts are tiny bits. If you want a thinner pesto, add a little more olive oil. Squeeze a bit of lemon and add the cheese, then pulse. Add a bit of salt & pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings as you like them.
Cover and refrigerate. Will keep for approximately 5 - 7 days. If frozen, it will keep for 3 - 4 months.