Our mom usually makes her pesto sauce with pignoli, which are pine nuts. I really don't care for the taste of pine nuts, I have been using walnuts instead of the pine nuts in the sauce. No one seems to mind, they love it the same! But you can eliminate the nuts all together and still get a great tasting pesto sauce.
Keep in mind, fresh basil pesto sauce is very versatile! You can drizzle on salads, on fresh garden tomatoes, or add to soups for extra flavoring! Its great to use even as a dipping sauce for grilled meats and seafood at barbecue's. Fresh basil pesto is a wonderful sauce to keep in your refrigerator all summer long!
You can also use this fresh sauce with our recipe for Chicken Rollatini with Pesto instead of the store bought.
Here's a Tip:
Keep fresh basil sauce in an air-tight jar, refrigerated. Add a small amount of olive oil on top of the sauce in the jar after every time you use some. It keeps fresh up to 4 months. I will be using this pesto sauce in various recipes coming soon!
Fresh Basil Pesto Sauce
- 1 bunch of basil - about 2 cups
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 tsp. of salt
- 1/8 tsp. of cayenne pepper
- Optional: fresh cracked pepper to taste
Rinse fresh basil and use only the leaves, discard the stems.
Using a blender, add olive oil, walnuts, basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper and salt.
Blend on high speed or puree all ingredients in a food processor.
Taste the sauce, and adjust with salt if needed.
Optional: season with black pepper to taste.
Store in air-tight jar or container.
Keep refrigerated up to 4 months.
Yields: about 2 cups