Today, I decided to use some of my abundant home-grown basil to make pesto. I have never made pesto, so I searched the internet for recipes. Since I didn't have pine nuts, I decided to use heart-healthy walnuts, an alternative that often popped up in my search. I adapted my recipe from Basil-Walnut Pesto. If you want to try the original recipe, go to the website. Mine just has a little more olive oil and another clove of garlic. There is an interesting story about the walnuts I used in this. My father-in-law, who passed away 15 years ago, cracked and picked out these walnuts himself. They have been in my freezer ever since, and are still good. How amazing is that! I think Lee Ed might have smiled down on me today. Or he may have complained, Why on earth is she wasting my walnuts on that? They should go in some chocolate fudge. Either way, I thought of him fondly, and all the food and recipes he and my mother-in-law Elaine shared with me over the years.
Two cups of basil leaves, tightly packed.
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup, plus another dash or so, of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Using a food processor, blend the first five ingredients together until it reaches the consistency you like, then add the Parmesan cheese and blend for another 10-20 seconds. Stop and stir the ingredients in if they want to stick to the sides of your processor.
I ended up with a pint of pesto, which I divided into two half-pint jars. I put some olive oil on top of one and put it in the freezer, and kept the other in the refrigerator.
I actually used a couple of tablespoons of this green goodness immediately for lunch. I chopped up some chicken breast, browned it in a pan, threw in about a cup zoodles (zucchini noodles), and a handful of asparagus. Then I added the fresh pesto and a couple of tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt for a lo-cal chicken fettuccine. Delicious!