Summer Pesto

Thank you Grace Dickinson for a fabulous summer of recipes and nutrition blogs. Good luck in your last year at Temple University!

written by Grace Dickinson
When I think of basil, pesto almost immediately comes to mind. The clean fragrance of the leaves elicits that same smell pesto has, fresh from the food processor. It’s a classic summer recipe in my household, utilizing garden basil at its prime.

Unlike tomato sauce, which has its place too, pesto requires no other cooking except for the pasta you may want to pair with it. Rather, all you need to do is throw a bunch of basil with a few other ingredients, such as garlic, and voila, you have flavorful sauce in no time.

Pesto freezes well too, so before the frost hits your basil crop, be sure to make a few extra batches. Then you can easily reap the benefits of summer long into those cold winter months.

When ready to use, mix the pesto with whole wheat pasta. Because of the raw ingredients, pesto is rather pungent, so it works well with whole-wheat, overpowering any detectable “wheaty” taste. That way you can chow down on fiber-filled whole grains in addition to that healthful green sauce you’ve whipped up.

Pesto’s also a great addition to rice, sandwiches, crackers, etc., so don’t be afraid to use it up while you have it!

Basil Pesto with Linguinie

For the pesto:

-2 medium cloves garlic
-1 heaping, packed cup of basil
-1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. pine nuts
-1/2 cup parmesan*
-1 tsp. salt
-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2 Tbsp. reserved pasta water, optional

*If you are lactose intolerant or vegan, the parmesan may be substituted with nutritional yeast.

Remaining ingredients:
-1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (omit if freezing)
-1 lb whole wheat linguine
-Basil and sliced tomatoes for garnish, optional

Cook pasta according to directions, reserving 2 tbsp. of pasta water before draining.
Meanwhile, pulse garlic in a food processor. Add in basil, nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup pine nuts, and salt. Begin to puree ingredients, slowly drizzling olive oil into the mixture through the top of the food processor. Add the 2 tbsp. of reserved pasta water and puree until smooth.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp. pine nuts, and toast until pine nuts begin to brown. Remove from heat.

Return drained, cooked pasta to the pan and stir in pesto mixture. Place in serving bowl. Sprinkle sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts on top. Garnish with fresh basil and tomatoes, if desired.