I got this recipe from my Stepmom, Peggy, and she gave me her suggestions for preparing this. It was from an article by Sandra Wu titled "Better Pasta Salad with Pesto." I didn't make the pasta salad at the time. In fact I only made the pesto because I had a ton of basil that was a couple days from going bad. I wasn't sure if I would use this with pasta or chicken or fish, but I knew I could freeze it for a rainy day.
I've always loved pesto, but I've never been a huge fan of the pesto that I buy from the store. I think it must be the preservatives because something in it just tastes...funky? Even though I had tried this pesto before (at my dad and Peggy's), I was still a bit worried about how it would taste. Totally unnecessary. This was delicious! I had John try a bit from the spatula and he was equally pleased - and I think surprised, given his penchant for green sauces. :)
This recipe made about half a jar. If I had a ton of basil I might have doubled it, but I just kept it as is. It will be more than enough for the two of us. Note, the spinach isn't necessary, but it does make the sauce a little brighter. I had some baby spinach so I used it, but it's not a make-or-break ingredient in this dish.
*1/4 cup pine nuts
*2 medium garlic cloves, pressed
*1/4 cup olive oil
*3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
*1 cup packed baby spinach
*1 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp pepper
*2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
*1 1/2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 3/4 cup), plus extra for serving
*6 tbsp light mayo
*Cook garlic. (Original recipe said to put it in the boiling water for pasta for one minute, then remove and rinse with cold water). I put two cups of water in a microwave safe bowl with the garlic. I cooked it for about two minutes in the microwave, and decided that was good enough.
*Toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
*When garlic is cool, peel and mince through a garlic press.
*Place pine nuts, garlic, basil, spinach, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping sides of a bowl as necessary.
*Add cheese and mayo and process until thoroughly combined.
*Transfer to your dish or to a jar to fridge or freeze.
|All my green ingredients in one bowl! As you can see, my basil was on the verge of wilting.|
|Toasting pine nuts|
|Time to process in batches! (I only have a mini food processor, but it works great!)|
|One batch of green leafy mixture to the side|
|All mixed up!|
|Nice texture and great flavor!|
|My jar! I always save jars when I buy sauces (not too often anymore) so I can freeze or store my own. I now have some tomato cream sauce and pesto sauce in the freezer for a rainy (or lazy!) day.|