Usually when I think of pesto, I think of the classic version with basil, pinenuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil. Simple yet incredibly flavorful and delicious. Also a great way to use up an excess of basil growing in the garden.
My “problem” right now is that I have an excess of multiple herbs in the garden!!
Also some older hunks of cheese that I’d like to use up.
Lucky for me, Pesto is actually incredibly versatile and came be made from many different ingredients.
Even in it’s classic form I almost always use walnuts over pinenuts, as I usually have them at home already.
First I grated approximately a cup of cheese, maybe less. I used some aged gouda as well as Pecorino Romano.
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped in half (they will later go through the food processor).
Fresh herbs! I used basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme! I even added some baby spinach that I had in the fridge. You can use as much or as little as you want…I used small “bunches” of each, and a “handful” of spinach.
The list of ingredients is as followed, and really they are all approximate:
- 1/2 cup nuts, I used walnuts.
- big bunch of herbs – you can use 1 herb only, or multiple varieties
- 3/4 cup – cup grated aged/drier cheese such as parmesan, Romano, aged gouda.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- pasta water (a few tablespoons worth)
- Wash and dry herbs
- grate cheese
- In a small sauté pan, heat olive oil over med-low heat, and add garlic. Cook garlic for just a few minutes, DON’T brown the garlic. Cooking the garlic slightly just takes the sharp bite from it, but still leaves a strong garlic flavor.
- Place herbs, cheese, nuts, garlic and olive oil into a food processor.
- Blend until a thick sauce is formed
- If serving with pasta, add pasta water 1T at a time, to the pesto to add some creaminess, and thin it out for easier spreading.
We enjoyed our herb pesto with a mix of pasta, grilled veggies (chopped), and arugula all tossed together.
As well as a caprese salad. Enjoyed al fresco.
There is also almost always extra pesto, which you can freeze for a quick dinner another day!