This is a great pesto recipe, my mom’s own, and one that I like to think I owe my existence to. On my parent’s first date, my mother made my father this pesto, so the family joke is that this is what seduced my father, and by extension, why I was conceived (not on the first date).
At any rate, this is a great recipe and one that is perfect for my attempts to transfer over to a mostly local diet (part of the “living deliberately experiment”). Basil and garlic (and if you are lucky, a cheese similar to romano or parmesan) can all be grown local.
2 cups fresh basil, tightly packed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan/romano, finely grated
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts (you can always use a little extra)
1/2 tsp salt.
While boiling the pasta, put the basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and salt into a food processor and blend thoroughly. Before you drain the pasta, scoop out some of the hot water, and using about a tablespoon, use it to melt the cheese as you add it to the pesto until it is thoroughly blended (this is why it is key to finely grate the cheese).
You can add sweet cherry tomatoes, halved if you like. Sungolds are perfect because of their sweetness.
NOTE: coming from a Mediterranean region, pesto was originally a vegan recipe, as cheese (and meat) were rather hard to come by. This recipe works great without the cheese, you will just have to add more salt.