Pesto is an Italian sauce traditionally made with pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, salt and fresh basil using a mortar and pestle.
All kinds of variations have sprung from this recipe including ones with different nuts and in place of the basil ingredients like arugula, artichokes, red peppers or spinach. The possibilities are endless.
This version uses meaty, toasted walnuts along with the more traditional ingredients. I like my pesto thinner than most, if you like a thick paste than cut down on the oil.
To keep your pesto sauce a vibrant green briefly blanch the basil leaves in boiling water then plunge into ice water. This step adds only a few extra minutes to the overall prep time but will prevent your sauce from turning color. If you don’t mind the murky color change then skip this step, it makes no difference in the overall flavor.
Pesto sauce is good on so many thing aside from pasta! Use it in place of butter, mayonnaise or mustard to rev up your sandwiches (I love it on grilled cheese), burgers, bruschetta and quesadillas.
Drizzle it in soups, over cooked chicken, shrimp, fish, meat and vegetables. Use it as a sauce for pizza, on eggs, as a dressing for pasta salad, mix it into your mashed potatoes, or make a vinaigrette for green salads.
Or just eat it with a spoon! It’s that good.