Hi, friends! This summer flew by! It was a very hot summer in New York, with temperatures reaching into the high 90’s for a good chunk of time! We did lots of swimming and a few weekends ago, my husband and I hosted our family’s annual tomato sauce canning (we canned 118 jars!). The kids are bored and antsy and I am so ready to get back into my routine. School starts tomorrow…. isn’t it the most wonderful time of the year???
Back in July, we spent the weekend at my friend’s beach house in Rhode Island. She has the most charming little house in such a pretty town (Green Hill Beach is the area). I just love the New England style of architecture and landscaping. It’s a coastal town; as a matter of fact, her home is right on the beach, so like many shore towns, the larger grocery stores and shopping areas are a good 20 minutes away. However, the local shopping right in town is such a treat. Small bakeries, farmers markets and family-owned general stores; it’s exactly how laidback, relaxed beach living should be! She picked up the most amazingly fragrant bouquet of fresh basil at the farmers market to have on hand for mozzarella and tomato salad… she plucked a few leaves for our lunchtime caprese salad and the rest she gave to me to make a wonderful pesto. Whether your garden is brimming with homegrown basil or you can’t resist buying some at your local farmers market, pesto is such a treat. It’s one of my favorite summer dishes and I’m excited to share this creamy, delicious recipe with you!
- Store the prepared pesto in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator.
- To keep the pesto from turning brown, pour a good inch or two of extra virgin olive oil on top of the pesto before screwing on the lid. The oil acts as a fat cap and provides a barrier so that air doesn’t oxidize the the pesto, thus keeping it bright green.
- When ready to use the pesto, bring it to room temp and with a spoon, carefully remove any brown spots from the top, if any. The pesto sauce underneath will be bright green and ready to enjoy!
- If you’re not using the entire jar at once, be sure to pour more oil on top before storing in the fridge.
- I don’t like the garlic to overpower the pesto, so I only use a few cloves. However, if you like it super garlicky, feel free to use more!
Creamy Summer Pesto
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 5 cups of basil leaves, washed and patted dry
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, tp taste
- 1 cup of freshly grated cheese, either parmesan or pecorino (I used a combination of both)
- Extra virgin olive oil, about 1 1/2 cups (you'll need enough to emulsify the pesto so it's spoonable, almost pourable)
- Step 1 Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor
- Step 2 pulse.
- Step 3 Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper and pulse again.
- Step 4 Slowly pour in the olive oil through the feed tube until the sauce comes together and becomes smooth.
- Step 5 Finish by adding the cheese and pulse one final time (add a bit more oil if your sauce is too thick).
- Step 6 Use right away or store in a glass jar in the fridge, as explained in the Cook’s Tips section.
Serve with the gluten free pasta of your choice (or regular pasta if not on a gluten free diet). Here’s how!
- If tossing with pasta, reserve some of the pasta cooking water to help loosen the pesto and coat the pasta.
- When the pasta is a few minutes from being done, spoon the pesto into the bottom of a dutch oven or wide skillet/sautee pan. For one pound of pasta, you’ll want to use a few heaping tablespoons of the pesto.
- As it begins to heat over a medium-low flame, add a ladle of the hot pasta cooking water Into the pan. Stir the hot water into the pesto.
- When the pasta is done, drain it over the pot and add it in batches to the skillet, gently tossing each time so the sauce coats all of the pasta.
- Add more of the cooking water if it’s too thick (or more pesto if not enough).
- Grate additional cheese into the pasta and toss. Serve immediately.
- Optional, add a pinch of crushed red pepper.