Its pesto time! Had a couple of basil leaves left from the time I made Pizza at home, so pesto was the way to go. Generally pesto is made with pine nuts, but I did not have any on hand and it is difficult to find them in the place that I stay. Many people use walnuts as a substitute but I feel roasted blanched almonds are a better substitute.

Traditionally, pesto is made in a mortar and pestle. Some Italians swear that the key to a good pesto is chopping the ingredients by hand rather than in a food processor. But, well, chopping by hand takes time and I wanted a quick recipe. I will definitely try chopping by hand the next time I have time on my hand and let you know the difference. But, for now I am happy with my food processor made pesto!

BASIL & ALMOND PESTO

Ingredients

1/3 cup almonds

1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tbsp for roasting almonds

1/2 cup Parmigiano Regiano

3 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp butter, softened

Salt and pepper, to taste (the cheese is salty so do taste before adding the salt)

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

Directions

Blanching the almonds:

Boil enough water to submerge the almonds. Once the water starts boiling, add the almonds. Leave in for a minute. Drain water. Let almonds cool. Once warm to touch, remove skins.

Toasting the almonds:

In a skillet, add about 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the almonds and roast till light brown. Keep an eye on the almonds as they have a tendency of going from light brown to burnt very quickly.

Making the pesto:

In a food processor, grind the roasted almonds. Add the garlic cloves and grind. Add basil leaves and grind a little. With the food processor on, slowly pour the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the mixture into a bowl and add cheese. Mix it well. Beat in the butter till mixture is smooth. Set aside. You can keep the pesto covered in the fridge for a week.

To serve:

You can serve the pesto with either fettuccine or penne pasta. Cook pasta according to instructions on the box.¬†While your pasta is cooking, add two tablespoon of the cooking water to a bowl large enough to hold the pasta. Stir in the pesto and the butter and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. When the pasta is cooked, drain very briefly (don’t allow to dry) and add to the bowl with the pesto, toss to coat evenly.

 

 

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