If you Google “pesto recipes”, you get 34,502,601 recipes for “the best pesto ever”.
If you Google “kale pesto recipes”, you get 5,045,192 recipes for “the best kale pesto ever”.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of pesto out there.
And who can blame these recipe writers. Pesto is freakin’ delicious.
Well, inspired by some recent Food Network obsessing (Damaris? Ree? Can we be besties?), I’ve been craving pesto like crazy.
The thing with pesto is that is SO SO SO easy to make, so there’s never a need to buy the store-bought crap that’s filled with preservatives and junk. Fresh pesto is worth the 5 minutes out of your day, for real.
With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a delicious sauce to use in pasta (or in this case, spaghetti squash!), a topping for fish or chicken, or as a spread on crusty bread.
Homemade pesto is also the perfect way to get gutsy in the kitchen. There are so many combinations and flavors to explore, it’s an easy way to take that first step into home cooking.
Basically, every good pesto has 5 things:
1. Some type of nut. (pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans… the possibilities are endless!)
2. A “green.” (spinach, basil, parsley, kale, swiss chard, etc.)
3. A hard aged cheese. (Parmesan, Pecorino, Romano)
4. An oil. (Extra virgin, flax seed, avocado)
You can also add in things like sun-dried tomatoes, citrus zest or juice to give your pesto a little extra sumthin’ sumthin’.
For yesterday’s dinner, I whipped up a pesto based on what I had in my fridge. Here’s what I used:
1 cup of kale leaves, stems removed (health benefits of kale)
1 cup of fresh baby spinach leaves (health benefits of spinach)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup almond slivers (you can leave them raw or toast them a bit)
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tbsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and pepper to taste (add the salt at the end, as the cheese is already quite salty)
In a food processor (you can use a blender or bullet if you don’t have a processor), combine all ingredients except 1/2 the oil and salt. Pulse until well combined (it won’t be perfectly smooth, but the consistency of like apple sauce). Add the remaining oil and slowly pulse until combined. Serve immediately, or place into an air-tight container for up to a week (or 3-4 months in the freezer). PS-If you think you don’t like kale, try it this way, because obviously cheese makes EVERYTHING better. Except Brussel sprouts. God himself couldn’t make those things taste anything less than sweaty, bulbous, veiny green balls of nastiness.
I served it over roasted spaghetti squash and it was absolutely DIVINE! You’ve got to try it!
Have you ever made homemade pesto? What did you put in it?