No, this isn’t a crock pot recipe, but it comes together in 5 minutes (plus however long your pasta takes to cook) so it absolutely qualifies for a thoughtless dinner. I’m talking about pesto. There are a zillion ways to make pesto. Traditionally they include herbs or greens of some kind, plus a nut of some kind, plus olive oil. This one is pretty close to traditional pesto, as it uses fresh basil. The super traditional stuff is made with pine nuts, but I just can’t bring myself to pay nearly EIGHT BUCKS for 8 oz. of them when I can buy a whole pound of shelled walnuts for $5, which can then go in the freezer for future dishes. Right, so the only special equipment you’ll need for this is a food processor (or maybe a blender, though I’ve never made it that way). This recipe makes about a cup of fresh pesto. I promise there really is pesto under that cheese. And pasta. Mmm. Which makes it a good entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Mansi of Fun & Food Cafe.
- 2 cups packed basil leaves (be sure to wash and spin or pat dry)
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- Toss your walnuts into the food processor and pulse a few times to bust them up if they aren’t already chopped.
- Add the basil and pulse several times.
- Add the garlic and go ahead and switch it to on.
- Add the olive oil in a slow stream down the little spout in the top while the food processor is running.
- Stop and add the cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Keep pulsing until you achieve the desired smooth consistency.
- Prep your pasta per package instructions. This is enough for one package of pasta.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the pesto, turning often to make certain all is well coated.
- Top with additional parmesan or romano.
Cook’s note: This also makes a great marinade for chicken or pork.