Did you know that pestos were strictly made with basil, olive oil, garlic and cheese? If using, say cilantro instead of basil, it can not be called a pesto. Who knew!
My husband and I went to our city’s green market this past weekend and picked up a huge bunch of basil. (Just look at my lovely basil!) I wish that my basil would grow like theirs but no such luck. Of course, with all this basil on hand I had to think up something to make with it and besides caprese salad, which we have had twice, I thought pesto would be delicious.
First I made the traditional pesto, which I always use for my pesto pasta, but there are literally hundreds of ways to use it. It can be the base of a pizza , as a condiment mixed with mayonnaise on a BLT, I’ve used it to dress up a grilled cheese sandwich (recipe coming soon), mixed it with butter for corn on the cob and given it a toss with green beans and a little squeeze of lemon for a tasty side dish.
Secondly, since I still had a pile of basil, I decided to try adding some extra herbs and mint to use as a sauce on lamb chops. And wow! was I surprised at how delicious it was. It got a high five from my husband so I was pretty proud of myself. I even have some leftover that I am going to toss with some sauteed shrimp and serve over a quinoa pasta. Two meals with one sauce – love it!
Traditional Basil Pesto
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to tast
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated
In a Ninja blender or food processor, combine first 3 ingredients. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Slowly pour in oil until mixture is smooth and well mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cheese and serve immediately.
Basil & Mint Pesto
- 1/2 of the traditional pesto above
- 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1/4 cup cheese (if not already added to traditional pesto)
While traditional pesto is still in blender, add above 2 ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Mix in cheese if it had not been mixed in with the traditional basil pesto. Serve immediately.
Voila! There you have it! Two great pestos!