Here in Atlanta Autumn usually doesn’t set in until late November, or at least that’s what it feels like. The past couple years I’ve enjoyed the extended late summers and mild autumn temperatures because it comes with the bonus of late summer vegetables. Caprese salads with fresh, heirloom tomatoes! Ratatouille with eggplant and zucchini has my name written all over it.
I do wish winter would last longer than 4 days and temperatures would drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. But I won’t complain too much because Atlantans love their mild winters and I don’t want to get on your bad-weather-side. We experienced crazy winters in Europe and although I miss bundling up and walking through snow to get to the farmer’s market, I’ll take the milder cooler temperatures.
As long as I’ve been cooking, one of my favorite things is to make recipes using ingredients that are at the peak of season. This basil pesto is no exception. Now a basil pesto is a basil pesto you might say but let me convince you of the flexibility you have with this recipe. Using walnuts when there are no pine nuts in sight or making this in winter with spinach will win your heart, I hope; I am a sucker for pesto all year around. I am curious to try other ways with pesto other than spinach and kale, like with cilantro.
1 healthy bunch of Basil leaves, approximately 2 cups
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/4 cup (freshly grated) parmigiano regggiano cheese
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
In a bowl of a food processor or blender, add basil, walnuts, cheese, garlic, salt & pepper. Pulse until the basil and garlic are finely chopped.
With the machine off, scrape the mixture to the bottom with a spatula.
Slowly stream olive oil through the tube while the processor is turned on. Blend until the oil is mixed in and a loose paste forms.
Taste; adjust salt, pepper, or oil to personal preference.
Pesto is perfect with pasta, spread on baguette or ciabatta, topping for soup, tossed with cooked potatoes or topped on cooked meats. The possibilities are endless.