Classic Basil Pesto

Pasta with Classic Basil Pesto

In class last night we were cooking with herbs. One of the dishes we made was pasta with pesto. There are reasons this dish is such a classic. The flavor is all about summer to me.

With cold weather on the horizon, I find myself wanting to enjoy fresh basil even more, while I can. Pesto is one of my favorite basil dishes. Pesto is most often made with basil, but there are a lot of variations out there. Pesto can be made from parsley, sun dried tomatoes, spinach or mint.

I must admit to being a big fan of the original.

I make pesto often when I have fresh basil. I also freeze basil with olive oil, so I can make it all year long. Pesto can be tossed with pasta, rice, potatoes or other veggies. I also like pesto on chicken.

Basil Pesto Sauce

1 c. tightly packed basil leaves
1/4 c. olive oil, or more as needed
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt to taste
1/2 c. pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pecans or walnuts- I like to toast the nuts first
1 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients, except the cheese, in a blender and mix until smooth. Stir in the cheese and toss over hot, cooked pasta or use as a sauce on meat and poultry. Sauce will keep a few days in the fridge and makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for 1 lb. of cooked pasta.

Pesto Potato Salad

Pesto Potato Salad

Pesto Potato Salad

I never met a potato I didn’t like. This time of year it’s all about potato salads. I make them a lot and always look for new ways to change them. I love pesto sauce and the combination is quite nice.

 Pesto Potato Salad

2 lbs. Boiling potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 c. basil leaves
3 T. pine nuts, walnuts or pecans
3 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Cook potatoes until tender. Cool. In blender combine remaining ingredients, except 1 tablespoon of the nuts. Pour blended mixture over potatoes and sprinkle with the reserved nuts. Chill. Serves 6-8.

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