My dad and I shared a love of food and spending time together in the kitchen. One of his favorite and most famous recipes was his pesto. Loved by all and often requested, this is now his grandson’s (age 11) favorite dish and he makes it on his own. Incidentally, he has been making it on his own since about age 8 and will eat this fresh from the ‘nart with a spoon.
You can whisk this into warm cream for a pesto cream sauce, or reserve a little pasta cooking liquid and just toss it with hot, freshly cooked pasta. Personally, that is my favorite application.
Most people ruin pesto with all kinds of tree nuts (I’m not just saying that because I am allergic). The point of pesto is to taste the fresh herbs with a hint of “nuttiness” from the pine nuts (which are seeds, by the way). And while some pour unfortunate souls are also allergic to pine nuts, luckily, I am not. So stop mucking around with true pesto and let it sing.
Chef’s Note: If you have a dairy allergy, you can stop and not add the cheeses. It will just be somewhat runny, but will still have all that yummy basil flavor. I do it for my friend, Heather upon request.
Yields 3 cups
From Robert Davis Frank aka my dad
2 Cups basil, fresh firmly packed
6 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
1 Cup pine nuts
1 to taste pepper, black, ground
1 Cup oil, extra virgin olive
1 Cup cheese, parmesan, grated
1/4 Cup cheese, Romano grated
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless Steel
Process the basil, garlic, and nuts in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until finely chopped.
With the machine still running, pour in the oil in a thin steady stream.
Add the cheeses, and the pepper. Process briefly to combine.
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.