Basil Pesto

My AC wasn’t working. It was 95 degrees. It was hot. I felt like I was dying. I was also hungry. I knew I needed to cook. As the timeless Whoopi Goldberg said in the movie Ghost “You in danger, girl”. Luckily I saw that I has Pasta and that I could make a pesto. I ran -drove- to Target (I can always find an excuse to go to Target), to escape the heat for a bit, and to get some Basil. This was the best thing I could have had. It was warm, yet still awesome lukewarm or cold for dinner. It had some spice to it (because its me) and it was minimal dishes. Here’s my Basil Pesto.

Ingredients:

  • Small shaped pasta. I used Farfalle. You can use long pasta like spaghetti, bucatini or fettuccine.
  • 3 bunches of Basil
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts (you can toast them for added flavor)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced.
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (there is not minimum here. I love cheese, add to your hearts content. If you NEED a minimum, 1/2 cup). Cheese is life.
  • Olive oil (to blend everything together. I have used 3/4 cups to a little bit more)
  • Salt and Red Pepper Flakes to taste.

How to:

  • Optional: Tost Pine nuts. You can do them in the oven. I always burn mine in the oven, so I toast them in a skillet over medium high heat. This can take up to 5 minutes.
  • In a food processor add the nuts, cheese and garlic. Pulse until combined. Add the basil and pulse. Add oil while you are processing the mixture until smooth!
  • In a large pot, boil some water. Add some Olive oil and salt heavily. Add pasta, cook to the box instructions. I used 12 ounces of pasta. Make sure to reserve about 1/4- 1/2 cup of pasta water!
  • By this time pasta should be done. Drain. As mentioned before you need a max of 1/2 cup of pasta water. I use the same pot to mix everything together, so in that pot add the pesto. For an extra flavor and completely optional, add butter to the pan. Let it hand out. Start by adding 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta and have everybody chill together. Whisk so that they aggressively meet. Add pasta water you want it more “loosey goosey” (thanks Anne Burrell). Adjust seasoning (salt & red pepper flakes)

    If you want to bulk this dish up, you could add some cooked chicken or shrimp.
  • If you want a crunch factor to this, add some toasted Panko bread crumbs (place 1/4 cup of Panko in a skillet with some oil or butter and toast, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and for more crunchy deliciousness add some parmesan as it toasts)

Enjoy!

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