Pesto is the perfect addition to all your summer dishes. There’s something magical that happens when you blend herbs, garlic, oil and nuts together to create a flavorful sauce that tastes phenomenal on just about anything.
Each summer I volunteer to do a cooking demo at our local farmers market. It’s a great way to connect with my local community and I really enjoy cooking in front of an audience. Does anyone need a co-host for their cooking show? Seriously, where can I sign up?
Unfortunately I could not commit to a demo this year due to our pregnancy. Everything is going as planned and little Gavin is 100% healthy, so I’m ok with missing this year’s spotlight.
WHAT IS PESTO?
Pesto is traditionally made by combining fresh basil with pine nuts and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Some recipes call for parmesan cheese, while others skip dairy all together. Freshly made varieties are most popular during the summer and can easily be frozen for use later in the year. I literally always have an ice-cube tray with frozen pesto in my freezer. Always.
The thing I love most about homemade pesto is how customizable it is. You can swap whatever herbs you have growing in your garden and typically stumble upon a fabulous pesto recipe. I’ve substituted basil with cilantro and parsley in the past and absolutely loved the results. Get creative and use what’s on hand, you’ll do great!
Feel free to switch the pine nuts for almonds, walnuts or pistachios (like today’s recipe). Depending on what you have in your pantry, there’s all kinds of creative ways to add some zing to a traditional basil pesto recipe.
HOW CAN YOU SERVE PESTO?
The easiest way to enjoy pesto is drizzled over sun-ripened tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and aged balsamic vinegar. This dish screams summer. I like to pop my tomatoes in the refrigerator about an hour before serving to give them a little chill. You can serve this at room temperature, but there’s something extra refreshing about a cold salad on a hot day.
For more pesto inspiration, click here.
- 2 cups Fresh Basil
- 1 cup Roasted Pistachio Nuts, shelled
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp. Lemon Zest
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- ⅓ - ⅔ Olive Oil, as needed
- 2 Tomatoes, Heirloom or Beefsteak work best
- 2 thick slices of Fresh Mozzarella, cut into small chunks
- 2-3 tbsp. Aged Balsamic Vinegar
- Place all ingredients for the pesto in a food processor or blender (start with ⅓ cup olive oil). Puree until combined.
- I like to keep mine a little chunky but feel free to continue pureeing until you achieve your desired texture. Add more olive oil if needed.
- Presto... you have pesto! Drizzle over sliced tomatoes and mozzarella. Serve with aged balsamic vinegar over the top.
- Save any leftover pesto in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
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