Pesto is best in the summertime when basil is fresh and you can make a batch of pesto from scratch. Pesto is a snap to make and will fill your kitchen — and maybe your whole house — with the wonderful aroma of fresh basil. If you don’t have pine nuts on hand, you can substitute walnuts in your pesto recipe.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes or less for pasta
Yield: 6 servings (about 1 cup)
Fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons, plus 1/3 cup pine nuts
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese or a combination of Parmesan and Romano cheeses, plus extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound fettuccine or other pasta
6 cherry tomatoes and several sprigs parsley for garnish
Chop the basil leaves until you have 3 cups chopped.
Place the 3 cups basil, garlic, 4 tablespoons pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper in a blender or food processor.
Process until well blended and smooth.
Dribble in the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is the consistency of a smooth paste.
In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Drain the pasta.
Combine the pesto, 1/3 cup pine nuts, and pasta in the pot or in a large bowl and toss until the pasta is well coated.
Use more or less pesto, according to your preference (a ratio of about 3/4 cup pesto to 1 pound pasta is typical).
Add a few tablespoons of hot water to the pesto to thin it, if necessary.
Garnish with cherry tomato halves and parsley, and serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.
Per serving: Calories 337 (From fat 126); Fat 14g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 79mg; Sodium 75mg; Carbohydrate 43g (Dietary fiber 3g); Protein 11g.