If you’re like me, you’ve likely found yourself with extra fresh herbs that needed to be put to good use and fast. Unlike their dried counterparts, fresh herbs are delicate and have a limited lifespan before they must be used or tossed. And recently when I ended up with extra fresh basil on my hands, I immediately turned to that one recipe that is basil goodness through and through: pesto.
While I excitedly brought together the amazing flavors of fresh, sweet basil, toasted nuts, garlic, Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil, I was already musing over the various ways that this pesto would be put to good use in the days ahead. Of course, there’s the classic preparation of pasta and pesto. But I was thinking beyond that to ways to take ordinary bites and elevate them.
I soon realized that there are many dishes that pair well with pesto, and now was the time to kick things up a notch. The results? A few of my favorite ways to indulge that I hope you’ll also consider giving a try:
As a marinade
As a spread on Panini
On top of crostini
To liven up eggs, seafood, pork and chicken
Tossed with roasted vegetables
As a dip for crudité
As a base for pizzas and more
There’s never been a more perfect time to welcome fresh, green goodness into your kitchen. Let your imagination and taste buds lead the way to discovering the many ways that you can enjoy the delicious flavors of pesto — and eat up!
2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts and walnuts combined
3 garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Special Equipment: Food Processor
Add basil and nuts to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add in garlic and pulse until mixture is thoroughly pureed.
With the processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil through the feed tube. Season with salt and pepper and give one last pulse. Pour pesto into a bowl and stir in the cheese. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil (optional).