It’s not always restaurants get pesto right. Not that they don’t know how to do it – because it’s pretty straight forward. But it’s probably because restaurants here are used to making pasta ‘sauces’ quite creamy. So they add a load of cream in their pesto and call it ‘pesto sauce’. That’s certainly not how I like my pesto. There’s nothing snobbish about it. Basil tastes great when it’s not cooked and diluted with cream. Just some cooked pasta tossed in pesto enough to coat it is perfect.
There are all kinds of pesto these days, ranging from spinach to coriander. I also did an amaranth pesto once and it was fantastic. This one though is made with basil. And instead of pine nuts (which cost a lot, by the way), I used toasted almonds. As you can see in the picture, I’ve thrown in a couple of cashew nuts because they were all I had and didn’t want to waste them. I also didn’t add any cheese. Instead I used more olive oil. It turned out creamy and the basil tastes so fresh in it. Add it to your chicken, salads, sandwiches, roast veggies and of course, pasta.
Alternately, you could use pine nuts (as used traditionally), walnuts or even cashew nuts. You could also add parmesan cheese as well, but I haven’t added any. In an ideal situation I would have used a mortar and pestle instead of a blender or a processor. A coarse pesto looks more rustic. Add this to your soup or salads. I’d even add it to my grilled chicken.
One jar of pesto
Basil – 2 cups loosely packed
Almonds – 1/4 cup lightly toasted
Olive oil – 3/4 cup
Garlic – 3 cloves
Salt – to taste
Simply blend all the ingredients till smooth or coarse – as you like it.
As simple as that!