Have you noticed how expensive pine nuts are? Oh my god. The last time I checked, they were well over $20 a pound. If you love pesto the way that I do, you will love this substitute that allows you to use a less expensive nut: walnuts. You can actually make pesto with hazelnuts and pecans, too (probably more, but I haven't tried any others). This is a delicious alternative to pine nut pesto. The next few weeks will be the best times to get fresh basil at the farmer's market. Make sure you pick up a bunch--if you make this recipe, you can freeze enough to keep yourself in fresh pesto through the winter.
Fresh Basil-Walnut Pesto
5 cups clean fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 - 2 cups parmesan cheese
2 cups walnuts
6 cloves of garlic
salt & pepper
1 - 1 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
Make sure your basil is washed thoroughly. I wash it, place the leaves in a bowl of cold water, and then stick it in the fridge til I'm ready to make the pesto. Start by placing about 1/4 of your basil leaves in a food processor along with about 1/4 cup of walnuts and 1-2 cloves of garlic. Once that has blended down, keep adding those three ingredients until they are all blended. Slowly add your oil until the mixture is a little loose; then start adding the cheese a portion at a time. Finish off with lemon or lime juice and salt & pepper to taste. Note: this is a really malleable recipe. You can use more or less of any of the above ingredients to taste. Just keep tasting your pesto until you get it just the way you like it.
Serve over your favorite pasta. We paired ours with some browned chicken breast, cherry tomato, and a lovely Long Island rose.