My herbs have been growing extremely well, so I decided to use a bunch of them to make fresh basil & mint pesto that I adapted from a Giada DeLaurentis recipe. Many of the recipes for pesto use garlic, but they normally add it to the food processor raw. This is ok if you’re going to mix your pesto with your pasta and sauté for a few minutes afterwards. However, if you’re like me and you add your pesto to your pasta right after you strain it while it’s still hot, it doesn’t sauté your garlic, but only warms it. Now I love garlic and yes, sometimes I’ll admit I sneak a few raw pieces while I’m cooking. But, this stuff is extremely overpowering when it’s raw, so I like to sauté my garlic before adding it to my food processor. Also, pine nuts are the customary nuts used to make traditional pesto, but I like to use walnuts. They taste just as great as pine nuts and they’re far more inexpensive. I also like to add fresh mint to my pesto; it gives it a refreshing kick and makes it smell good too. Spinach, parsley, cilantro, sun dried tomatoes, etc… can all be used to make a great pesto. Be creative and use whatever you have on hand!
- 1 1/2 c fresh mint leaves
- 1 c fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 c walnuts
- 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1/3 c olive oil
- Coat a pan with olive oil and saute garlic over medium heat until garlic browns slightly.
- Strain the garlic from the olive oil and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine the mint, basil, walnuts, cheese, lemon juice and sauteed garlic until smooth. Add salt and pepper to flavor.
- While the mixture is still pulsing, gradually add the olive oil until the pesto is creamy.
- Add the pesto to just-cooked pasta and serve immediately.
- Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and fresh basil and mint.