I make pesto pasta throughout the year, but I really love to make it during the summer months. I use fresh basil from the garden and any other herbs that I have on hand. I love that pesto is so versatile. The basics you need on hand are basil, olive oil, some kind of nut, parmesan, and salt&pepper. You actually don't even need basil, you could make a mint pesto, carrot top pesto, the list goes on. I usually add in kale or spinach for some extra nutrients. I make mine in a food processor, but you could use a mortar&pestal, or an immersion blender (which in opinion is genius!) like my friend Claire Wiley uses. Here's my go-to recipe for a summery pesto pasta:
A big bunch of fresh basil
2 big handfuls of kale or spinach
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, or slivered almonds (your choice!)
1/2 cup of olive oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon
1/2 cup-1 cup of parmesan
Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
In a food processor pulse the nuts and garlic clove until a paste forms. Add in the herbs, greens, salt&pepper (I add a lot of salt), squeeze of lemon, and pulse until finely chopped. With the processor, slowly add in the olive oil until fully combined. Add in the parmesan and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil on top. The pesto will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
I love to serve mine over some fresh angel hair or a pasta called gemelli. You really can't go wrong with any pasta. If you make the pesto right away, reserve a little pasta water to add to the pasta/pesto. That way, it will meld together nicely.
It's also delicious spread on some fresh bread with fresh mozzarella, tomato and prosciutto. I also love it on top of a salad.
Happy Pesto Season!