Basil Pesto with Walnuts or Pecans

I had copious amounts of basil and Italian parsley in my garden this evening. In past years I’ve waited too long and the basil would be blooming before I had a chance to harvest it.

This time I was able to pick it while it was still tender and bright green.  By cutting it back I hope to get a second batch in time for my tomato harvest later in August.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy a bit of this batch on boiled eggs, stirred into pasta, smeared on a sheet of puff pastry, rolled, cut and baked into crackers or nappéd on a serving of grilled fish or roasted vegetables.

1  cup (3 ½ oz) walnuts or pecans, coursely chopped, toasted and allowed to cool
3 cups packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves, rinsed and dried
2 – 3 large garlic cloves
1 cup good extra virgin olive oil, or enough for desired consistency
1 cup (4 oz) freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
Juice of ½ medium lemon
Kosher Salt and freshl ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place walnuts or pecans in a cast iron pan or other oven proof sauté pan and roast for 10 -15 minutes or until toasted. Remove the walnuts from the hot pan to a bowl and set aside to cool; then coursely chop. Place basil and parsley leaves in the bowl of a 6 qt food processor.

Sprinkle walnuts and garlic cloves on top of leaves. Using the metal “S” blade pulse a couple of time to get the ball rolling and then with the machine running drizzle in the olive oil.

Add cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper and pulse until just blended. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and pulse a few more times. Taste for seasonings.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Add more olive oil before serving, if taken straight from the fridge.

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