- 3 1/2 – 4 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley (optional)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup freshly grated romano cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or raw cashew pieces, lightly toasted (see notes)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cream or plain soy milk (optional)
- garnish: fresh tomato slices
- Boil up enough of your favourite pasta to feed four people – I prefer to use pasta such as large shells or radiatore which have lots of surface for the pesto to adhere to, but linguini works well too.
- While the pasta is cooking, place all the ingredients except the cream or soymilk in a food processor or blender and process until homogeneous.
- If desired, place the pesto in a small pot with the cream and blend over med-low heat. Heat through and then pour over the pasta.
- If the cream is not being used, simply add the pesto to the drained, still hot pasta, mix gently but thoroughly and serve immediately.
- (*) To toast the nuts, place in a dry cast iron frying pan and cook over low heat until they start to turn golden. They can also be done on a cookie sheet in the oven – whichever method you use, they need to be watched closely.
- Pesto is a very forgiving and delicious recipe- try experimenting with cilantro leaves, dried tomatoes which have been softened or whatever strikes your fancy.
- Pesto can also be added in doll-ups to soups, used as a sandwich spread, or added as a garnish to baked potatoes or cooked veggies.