Certain foods are ubiquitous. One such food is Pesto. Of course you can buy jars of it in supermarkets and specialty food markets, but there is none to compare to what you make at home. Most pre-made pestos are too oily, too smooth without any character and with little flavor. One of the easiest things to make at home is pesto. This is a version that doesn’t even call for a food processor. I just chopped it!
I want my pesto to have texture and lots of flavor. I want the olive oil to enhance the pesto, not be the main ingredient. I often use greens other than basil such as kale or parsley. Hardly ever do I use pine nuts as I feel they are too oily. Walnuts, pecans, pistachios and pepitas are some of my favorite nuts to use. The constants in my pestos are good fresh garlic, the best olive oil I can afford and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Paired with a good short pasta noodle such as Campanelle, this pesto is divine and delicious.
First I smashed two garlic cloves using the flat side of my knife and then finely chopped them, adding toasted walnuts to my board and giving them a medium to fine chop together with the garlic. Grated parmesan was added and chopped into the garlic-walnut mix.
I harvested my first basil of the 2019 season and gave it a medium to fine chop as well. All the ingredients I then put into a bowl, adding a generous sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
All the ingredients I then drizzled with a good olive oil and smushed it all together with a wooden spatula.
I cooked some Campanelle noodles, topped them with a few spoonfuls of this chopped pesto. Bon Appetit.
Just Chop It Fresh and Easy Pesto
- 2 large fresh garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano – 1 cup or more divided
- 2 cups or more fresh basil leaves
- Sea Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1 lb Campanelle pasta noodles or other short noodle
- Put a pot of water on to boil for the noodles.
- Meanwhile working on a cutting board, smash the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and then chop. Add walnuts and give them a medium to fine chop along with the garlic. Every now and then smush it all with the side of you knife. This releases the oils from the garlic and walnuts.
- Add half of the grated Parmigiano and chop into the garlic-walnut mix and scrape all into a mixing bowl.
- On the same board chop the basil medium to fine and add to the bowl tossing with other ingredients. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle olive oil over all and toss together well. Taste and adjust to suit your palate.
- When you pasta water boils add the noodles and cook al dente. Drain well.
- Serve pasta topped with a generous serving of chopped pesto and more Parmigiano, sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle with additional olive oil if you like. Enjoy.
Teresa Blackburn. http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com