There is no recipe that epitomizes summer quite as well as basil pesto.
The unrelenting heat has caused the basil plants in our garden to explode–and I’ve been making pesto consistently ever since.
I seriously can’t even keep up with them.
Our red eye chili plants are right beside the basil, and haven’t yet reached their “red” stage–but I’ve been picking them green. The addition gives the pesto a subtle kick.
The typical pesto nut choice is pine nuts. However, I don’t typically buy those–in favor of raw almonds, which I always have on hand.
So I use those instead here–I think they work great and even impart an almost richer, deeper flavor to the pesto.
Don’t skimp on the garlic either.
It gives the pesto a necessary (in my opinion) punch.
Feel free to double, triple, or quadruple this recipe, depending on how much basil you have in your garden–it’s a recipe that is easy to preserve. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, or indefinitely in the freezer.
Freeze meal-sized portions in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a freezer bag for long-term storage. That way, you can easily take out one cube (or two) for pasta, scrambled eggs, chicken salad, roasted potatoes, or any number of combinations.
3 handfuls fresh basil
4 cloves garlic
1 fresh green chili, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup raw almonds
Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until loosely combined.
I like my pesto to be chunky, not pureed, so when the garlic, almonds and chilis get to a stage I like, a lot of the basil is still un-chopped in my Vitamix. If you have one of the larger Vitamix models or other similar blender/food processors, you might not have this problem. But because I value the chunky pesto texture, I dump my pesto out on a wooden cutting board once the garlic/almonds get to the size of small pebbles, and hand chop the rest with a sharp knife.
Once chopped, form up the pesto into a small cake.