Guilt-Free Basil Pesto

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This is a recipe that was in my local paper a few years ago. I love pesto, but since it's normally not very healthy for you (all that cheese and oil!), we tried not to make it too often. Once I saw this "Healthy Basil Pesto" recipe, I immediately photocopied it and decided to give it a try.

It sounds weird--using tomatoes?--but it's really good. To be honest, I haven't had "real" basil pesto in a long time (this is all we make), so I'm not even sure how it compares to the real thing. But we think it's delicious, so you should give it a try.

I never toast the pine nuts. All of the basil pesto recipes I have ever used have never called for toasting the pine nuts, so I always save myself the time and skip that step. I just throw them into the food processor as they are.

We always double this recipe so that we have plenty of leftovers to use for sandwiches, additional pasta, pizza, etc. Although, be careful about doubling the garlic if you're using fresh cloves. I put four in because we really like garlic, and holy hell, it was garlicky. Good, but TOO GARLICKY. :)

We like using the Barilla Plus or Barilla Whole Wheat pasta.

We had this last night. It was our first meal at our new dining room table. It's an easy, go-to recipe, especially in the summer. Enjoy!

Healthy Basil Pesto

3 tbsp. pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 to 2 cloves garlic (to taste), halved
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium tomato, peeled and seeded (see note below)
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooked pasta

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and cook, shaking pan, until nuts are golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Place toasted nuts, basil, and garlic in bowl of food processor. Pulse to blend, using rubber scraper, scrape down sides of the work bowl.

With food processor running, slowly add olive oil until blended. Add tomato; pulse to blend. Add parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and blend.

Spoon over hot cooked pasta. Sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top of each dish.

Note about tomato: Submerge tomato in boiling water for 15 to 30 seconds to make it easier to peel. The skin will crack and will peel right off.

4 comments:

Jen July 17, 2008 at 11:55 PM  

What font is that for "you've arrived at"? Love it!!

Heather July 20, 2008 at 9:38 PM  

The font is called "Ma Sexy."

Mrs. B September 7, 2009 at 7:18 PM  

I remembered this as I was wondering what to do with my huge basil plant in my garden. This recipe was great!

Have you ever attempted to freeze the pesto after you make it fresh?

Heather February 12, 2010 at 1:20 PM  

I just saw this question about freezing it. (Sorry, Mrs.B.) Still, I wanted to answer it in case anyone ever comes back and wonders the same thing!

I've never frozen it, but I imagine it would work out just fine. Just thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator before you need it.

We usually use the leftovers for another batch of pasta, or for spreading on sandwiches. My husband even sometimes mixes the pesto with scrambled eggs.

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