Thai Basil-Walnut Pesto

It seems like I say this too often, but I’ll say it again: Go to your local farmers market!!!! You can support local agriculture, purchase fruits and vegetables that were just picked, and have a good time. Every market is different, but there’s usually some kind of entertainment, live music, various food trucks, and more.


My local farmers market takes place at the La Paz Shopping Center in Laguna Niguel. It’s a small one, but it’s close by, convenient, and right now you can find peaches, plums, pluots, apricots, strawberries, cherries, eggplant, summer squash, basil, cucumber, radishes, cilantro……etc.; you can choose from a variety of organic or traditional  produce.

This recipe was a complete accident. One of my favorite stands at the farmer’s market, Beyond Bok Choy Farm, started offering humongous bunches of basil for id="mce_marker".50, so I decided to make pesto. I was in a hurry that day, I don’t remember why, but I grabbed my bunch of basil and ran. When I went to buy the pine nuts at Sprouts, I almost had a mini heart attack mid-store when I realized that pine nuts were id="mce_marker"6 per pound! Somehow I had forgotten how expensive pine nuts were, sooo I decided to buy walnuts instead. Well, when I got home I realized the basil I bought was actually Thai basil not sweet basil. Dinner had to get on the table one way or another so I went ahead and made my hybrid pesto. The pesto turned out very aromatic and different from traditional pesto, in a good way of course. I used it to coat some whole wheat pasta and seasonal vegetables, but you can use it on pizza, paninis, wraps, beans or simply tossed with vegetables.

Thai Basil-Walnut Pesto

 Yield:  1.5 Cups

Time: 15 min.

Ingredients:

Garlic, cloves3 ea.
Thai basil, leaves2 cups (packed)
Walnuts, toasted1/3 cup
Olive oil½ cup
Parmesan Cheese, grated1/2 cup
Salt, kosherTo taste
Black Pepper, groundTo taste


Preparation:

  • In a food processor, pulse garlic, cheese, nuts, and half of the basil until chopped.
  • Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Add remaining basil then with the motor running add oil and blend until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour into an airtight container and place a film of plastic wrap over the top. Place lid tightly on.

Chef’s Notes:

The best way to store the pesto is frozen in small portions, and then defrosted as needed.



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