Classic Basil Pesto
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
2-3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 T. fresh parsley leaves (optional)
About ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt (about ½ teaspoon) & pepper, to taste
Optional garlic toasting: place unpeeled garlic in a small saute pan and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally until fragrant and dark spots appear, about 7 minutes. Let cool then peel.
Place basil and parsley leaves in heavy-duty freezer bag. Pound the bag with the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin until all leaves are bruised. (This will help release flavorful oils.)
Pulse basil and parsley, pine nuts, garlic and a little salt in a food processor to combine. With machine running, add the olive oil and process until smooth. Stir in the Parmesan and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Makes about ¾ cup.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
Broiled Tomato-Walnut Pesto
2/3 cup walnuts
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil + about 2-3 T. extra for drizzling
6 oil-packed anchovies, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t. grated lemon zest
¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes
½ oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup) + more for serving
1 t. ground black pepper
Optional: Basil, for topping / garnish
Preheat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened, 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
Heat broiler. Toss tomatoes with 1 T. olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt. Broil, tossing once, until tomatoes are blistered and have released some of their liquid, 5-7 minutes. Let cool.
Pulse anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and ½ oz. Parmesan in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and tomatoes. With motor running, stream in 1/3 cup oil. Process just until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
If using for pasta, keep about ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid to add to pasta and pesto mixture. Add as needed until sauce coats pasta. Top finished dish with basil, Parmesan and another drizzle of olive oil.
Makes enough for 12 oz. pasta. It’s also great on grilled zucchini, summer squash and bell peppers!
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit