One of my main goals by having a small garden was to grow enough basil to make pesto. When I was in college a friend and mentor of mine, Ruthie, brought me to a farmer’s market and we picked out a big bouquet of basil to go home and make pesto with. Ever since then I’ve been wanting to make it again.
The taste and process of making pesto brings me many memories of Ruthie. She was someone very special to me and taught me many things about cooking and about joyfulness. If you were to meet her you would, without a doubt, realize that she is the most joyful person you’ve ever met. Not a bothersome exuberant zeal but a calm, content, caring joy that overflows onto every person she meets. Often times certain foods remind me of certain people in my life. Pesto is Ruthie to me. She had her own fresh herb garden in her beautiful back yard and we would go outside for rosemary or thyme as we cooked dinner together. She taught me what olive oil to buy at the store (Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed), how to make a quick simple salad with homemade dressing, and best of all she exemplified to me how to engage with company that she humbly invited into her home. All of this to say, I hope you can make this pesto with someone else or for someone and share the love of food and cooking together. And I’m sure you’ll enjoy this classic recipe.
- Fresh Pesto
- adapted from my mentor Ruthie's recipe
- 2 handfuls (1 cup packed) fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pine nuts
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor mix together basil and nuts. Add garlic and olive oil and pulse again. Add cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Pulse until just blended. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and pulse a few more times. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Add more olive oil before serving, if taken straight from the fridge. Or freeze in ice cube trays so you can easily pop out a new serving with a fresh batch of pasta. This will make about 6-8 ice cube size servings (2 people/ea), so double the recipe if you would like more.