Mix and Match Pesto
Make pesto with what you have on hand, you can vary the herbs, greens, nuts and cheese to make it a little different every time.
3 cups loosely packed fresh herbs or greens (basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, baby arugula, baby kale, baby spinach, watercress, etc…)
1/3 cup toasted nuts or seeds (almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, pepitas/pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
Additional flavoring, pick 1 or 2 (2 garlic cloves, zest of 1 lemon, pinch red pepper flakes, 1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes)
1 teaspoon kosher salt,
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated cheese (parmesan, pecorino, grana padano, manchego, asiago)
Put the herbs/greens, nuts or seeds, flavoring of your choice, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Pulse to make a coarse paste. With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream to make a smooth sauce.
*This makes enough pesto for 2 pounds of pasta. Do not add the cheese until you are ready to cook. Pesto can be refrigerated or frozen for longer storage. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto to prevent discoloration and store in an airtight container.
*To use with pasta, cook 1 pound dried pasta of your choice. Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water. Add the pasta while still hot to a large serving bowl. Pour over 1/2 cup pesto and sprinkle in the cheese. Add 1/2 cup of the hot pasta cooking water and a drizzle of olive oil. Toss well. If it seems a little dry, add some more pasta water and toss again so the pesto coats the pasta and there is just a little silky liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Taste and season with salt if needed and serve immediately.