Thursday, August 22, 2013

Recipe: Walnut Pesto

I recently just returned from my third trip to Italy (Stay tuned for posts about that!) I love living in Spain, but if I had the chance to live it Italy I would take it in a heartbeat. I love everything about Italian culture. The people, the architecture, the art and of course the food!

When I was 16 I started working as a hostess at an Italian restaurant called Mama Roma. I was lucky enough to have a boss who was willing to let me start working back of house almost immediately. I wanted to be a chef for the longest time so I was incredibly happy for the opportunity. I learned so much there and was really sad when I had to quit to go to college.

cook
Me checking a pizza at Mama Roma
The summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college I started as a prep cook at the now defunct Grazio Italian Bar and Grill. I worked under an amazingly talented chef, that, unfortunately, the owners refused to use his talents. Never the less I learned a ton from him.

So as you can see, Italian food has been a part of my life for A LONG time. I love cooking it at home for friends and family.

My all time favorite herb is basil and whenever I have enough from one of my plants I jump at the opportunity to make some pesto.

basil

Most pesto recipes use pine nuts. But, these are expensive, and lately are becoming increasingly hard to find nuts not grown in China in the US. So, using walnuts is a great alternative.

walnuts

Here is my simple recipe for Walnut Pesto:

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
ingredients

Directions:
  • Place the basil leaves, olive oil, walnuts, and garlic in a emersion blender or food processer and mix until well blended.
  • add parmesan cheese and continue blending until everything is well mixed.
  • At this point, you can add more olive oil to achieve the consistency you want. Also add salt and pepper to your liking.
That’s it! Super easy right? No need to buy a 4 dollar bottle anymore! Enjoy this pesto with pasta and chicken or just on a piece of toast with some fresh tomatoes.

finished pesto
Delicious!