by Amie Edelstein
This pesto recipe, like any pesto recipe, is completely adaptable. If you like garlicky pesto, add more garlic. If you like saltier pesto, add more salt or cheese. Make it your own! I like to use hazelnuts or walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts; it does change the flavor, but they’re available locally and tend to be more affordable.
Makes about 1 cup
4 cups fresh basil (not too tightly packed)
⅓ cup whole hazelnuts (or walnuts), toasted
2 cloves garlic, pasted
Zest of 1 small lemon
¼ tsp kosher or sea salt
½ cup (or more) olive oil
⅓ to ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigianno Reggiano cheese
- Put the basil in the bowl of a food processor, and process until roughly chopped, just to reduce the volume a bit.
- To the basil, add the hazelnuts, pasted garlic, lemon zest, and salt. Process to combine and finely chop everything well.
- With the motor of the processor running, add the oil in a thin stream until you reach the desired consistency of pesto (you may end up using less oil than called for).
- Scrape the pesto into a bowl and fold in the grated cheese. Taste for seasoning; add more cheese or salt if desired.
Note: if your pesto is a bit thick and you’re serving with pasta, you can always add a bit of the pasta water to make it more sauce-like.