One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh delicious produce, including fresh herbs. Basil in particular seems to grow really well near me in CT, last summer it turned into a huge bush of a plant, and this year’s crop looks promising for the same. As you may or may not know, to keep basil producing you need to harvest regularly to encourage new growth and discourage the plant from going to seed.
That’s great news for those who love basil, like me! Pesto is such a great, fresh, summer recipe that can be way easier than you may think. Many people are intimidated by pesto, thinking Pine nuts are way too expensive for me, or I don’t want to grate fresh hard cheeses just for a weeknight dinner.
Well, don’t worry this recipe is super low-stress! And super low cost too, if you have your own basil plant. During the summer, even if you don’t have basil of your own, it is super affordable at a farmer’s market as it peaks in production. This recipe uses fresh basil, but you can SO EASILY slip other greens in here! Try adding fresh chives, green onion, swiss chard, spinach, collards, or arugula. Just keep it less than 1/3 the total volume and use mostly basil.
This recipe is made in the blender, which saves you the trouble of chopping or blending yourself. Just add you ingredients, adjust as needed, and whir away. Mix in the cheese just before serving, and you have a super quick, super healthy meal in minutes.
- 2 cups basil (optional extra greens)
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves fresh garlic
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces (or pine nuts)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used the green can stuff, you can also buy fresh hard cheese and grate it yourself to be more authentic)
- Dash of lime or lemon juice
- Sea salt or garlic salt to taste
- Dash of cooking water from pasta, or hot water
Step 1: Add the basil and greens into your blender, and whir once or twice. Toss in the garlic, walnuts, and olive oil. Blend for a minute.
Step 2: Using a spatula, push the pieces down the sides of the blender. Continue blending and pushing it back down to blend it all together. Meanwhile, boil your pasta and drain, reserving a bit of the cooking water.
Step 3: Pour the pesto into a bowl, using a spatula to get it all out. Mix in the lime or lemon juice and sea salt or garlic salt to taste. Then mix in the cheese, and add the hot cooking water until it is the consistency you desire.
Step 4: Mix the pesto into your fresh pasta, and enjoy! I served this with garlic bread and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan on top. Some swiss chard and arugula is hiding in there, and no one was the wiser, I got two males to eat this and praise how good it was! Give it a try and see if you don’t want this to become a staple of your summer meals.
(Oh, and if you still have more basil left over, pesto freezes well, or try making some blueberry basil iced tea to go with the pasta!)