There is so much you can do with pesto; pesto mayonnaise, pesto butter, pesto on fish or chicken, pesto crostini, pesto stews and soups, and, of course, pesto on pasta. The possibilities are limitless. I like using pine nuts and pine nuts are what the Italians have used forever, but using pistachios is my favorite way to make Pesto. The little bit of saltiness the pistachios impart give Pesto a new dimension and a different layer of flavor. You can even use walnuts or no nuts at all.
Makes about three cups
½ Cup Toasted Pine Nuts or Toasted Shelled Pistachios
12 Large Roasted Garlic Cloves
5 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves, Packed
1 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
½ Cup XVOO
Place all the ingredients except the XVOO in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process the pesto until very finely ground and paste-like. With the motor running slowly add the XVOO through the feed hole and process until all ingredients are combined and the pesto has a very thick consistency.
Place the pesto in several small containers and drizzle a little XVOO over the top. Just a thin film is fine. This will keep the pesto from oxidizing and turning gray.
You can freeze the pesto for up to a month. Or keep in the refrigerator for one week.
Hints and Tips: Toasting the nuts brings out the oils and intensifies the flavor of the nut.