Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, basil, parmesan, olive oil and a little lemon juice. I've made a few adjustments.
My pesto is parmesan-free and totally vegan, because it's cheaper this way and it will keep longer. While I have made pesto with pine nuts, I normally make it with walnuts instead. I can't recall what prompted me to do this - maybe it was the lack of availability of pine nuts in city stores. Or maybe it was the price again. Either way, the walnuts actually give the pesto an even more nutty and rich flavor with the added bonus of some great texture.
Truth be told, you can really make pesto with anything. As long as you have the nuts, the greens, and the olive oil you are good to go. It's all about the flavors you want dressing your pasta or your baguette - if you are looking for sharpness try some arugula, for freshness try cilantro. If you are just looking to use up some weird veggie parts (ahem broccoli stems) feel free to throw 'em in the mix!
Funky (Yet Delicious) Pesto:
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 bunch basil
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 lemon
- a few pinches each of salt and pepper (don't ask me to measure this stuff)
- Toss your nuts and your garlic clove in the food processor, whir away until nicely broken up.
- Add everything else! Be sure to include your basil stems, they are nice and flavorful just like the leaves, plus they give you more pesto volume.
- Edit to taste. Add more oil if you desire a smoother pesto. Add other ingredients to play around with flavors, maybe add more garlic if you are feeling spicy. Have fun with it!
Eat that shit on pasta, on pizza, on baguettes, or even on a salad. It should keep for a bit more than a week, not that you'll have any left by then.