Pesto is a crushed basil style sauce, named from the Italian word “Pestare” which means to crush or grind. Fresh basil is blended with cloves of garlic, parmesan cheese and good quality olive oil. It’s most popularly served over warm pasta, however it also makes a great pasta salad or can be used as a spread for your favorite sandwich.
This recipe makes a generous serving of pesto. You can make a half batch if you don’t want leftovers, or freeze extra pesto in serving size portions in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out the cubes and store frozen in a ziplock bag.
Walnuts make a delicious, hearty pesto. They are also typically less than half the price of pine nuts (pignoli nuts). I like to load my pesto with nuts. In my opinion the result is delicious, otherwise I would always be a proponent of the “more expensive” ingredient option. You can absolutely use this recipe with pine nuts instead of walnuts for a more traditional style pesto, and even scale down the amount of nuts used. When making pesto, all ingredients are “to taste” so feel free to add a bit more or less and taste along the way to create your perfect batch.
Walnut PestoPrint Recipe
- 1 cup Chopped Walnuts
- 1 cup Olive Oil (good quality)
- 1 cup (packed) Fresh Basil Leaves, washed and dried
- 3 large or 6 small Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (good quality)
Combine first 5 ingredients (everything but the cheese) in a blender or food processor. Blend to combine.
You will need to stop the blender or food processor several times and use a long handle spoon* press basil leaves down towards the blade, stirring them into the sauce that is forming and pulse to ensure all the basil is blended. Repeat if necessary. *NEVER USE YOUR HANDS for this step.
Once the Basil and Walnuts are blended to the desired texture, add Parmesan Cheese and Pulse to combine.