Pesto

Pesto is great.  Its so flexible.  You can add different herbs for different flavours. It’s traditionally made with pine nuts, but they’re pretty expensive, so I substituted toasted walnuts. You can add whatever kind of nuts you like. You can serve it on pasta, meat, chicken or fish. Use it as a base sauce for pizza. Add it to rice to punch up a side dish. Add lots of garlic, or just a little.  It’s all about your preference.

Serves 4-6

Prep  10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Preparation

  1. Add Basil, garlic, olive oil, walnuts, and salt and pepper to a mini blender (the type used for making individual-sized smoothies).  Blend until smooth. Allow to sit for a bit for flavours to develop while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. If you don’t have a mini blender, you can use a full-sized blender but you may want to double the recipe as this quantity may not blend well in a larger jug.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, using the minimum cook time given.  Drain and rinse pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process. Allow it to dry a bit in the colander.  If it’s too wet, the pesto won’t adhere.
  3. Cut cooked chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Add tortellini and chicken to a large serving bowl.  Pour pesto over all and mix with a large spoon until everything is well coated.

Tips

  • It is traditional to have Parmesan in the pesto, but because I am lactose intolerant we keep it out and let the people who want it add it themselves.  This also keeps the sauce vegan, so it is a good, all-purpose, all people recipe.
  • If you want some heat, sprinkle red pepper flakes over top, or, if everyone likes it, add them right in the pesto blender.  I like some heat, but I actually find with the peppery taste of the basil and the heat of the raw garlic, I never miss the red pepper.
  • If you double the recipe, keep the remaining pesto in the fridge and try to use it within 2 weeks.

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