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Walnut Basil Pesto Over Pasta


Walking through my urban garden, looking at what's left (which isn't much beyond a stray pepper and a few green cherry tomatoes), I found I had two large basil plants still brimming with bright green, fragrant leaves. As a way to celebrate this final fall bounty, a pesto was in order. With all ingredients on hand, this pesto will last in the refrigerator for a week and can serve many uses — I decided a simple pasta would pair as the perfect way to highlight the last of this favorite summer herb. Having a bottle of bold, flavorful Pinot Grigio, which pairs well with pesto, made that decision all the more simple!

Ingredients: (makes about 1 cup of pesto)

  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

The pesto could not be any simpler. Combine all dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse until chopped. Slowly drizzle olive oil in while the food processor is on. The aromas from the fresh basil at this stage are amazing!

Once you have a thick, slightly runny pesto you can place it in a jar and use it throughout the week. Serve it on eggs, spread it on bread, or toss it with pasta!

For a simple recipe, cook pasta per package directions. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan over medium. Add slices of garlic and grape or cherry tomatoes and toss until tomatoes are soft and garlic is slightly browned. Turn the heat to low and add 1 tablespoon of fresh pesto per serving of pasta.

Once pasta is cooked, simply drain and toss in the garlic, tomato and pesto, stirring to coat.

Serve immediately with additional grated parmesan on each serving.

Simply put — summer never tasted so good in October!

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