Summer Flavors- My Mom’s Pesto.
One of my most favorite things is my Mom’s pesto. I remember loving it as a little kid, helping her pick the basil and eating it so often. I’ve been told that I was asked what we were having for Thanksgiving, and I responded with, “Spaghetti with Green Leaves Sauce”. When my teachers called my parent to inquire what horrific thing they were feeding me, my mother laughed and explained, though also telling her we were indeed having Turkey.
I eat pesto year round, on everything. During the Summer I make at least a dozen batches to break down into small portions to freeze. They become a bright taste of Summer for cold winter days. My Mom’s pesto is very special. I didn’t realize how much, until the first time I ordered it in a restaurant and I got an oily pile of pasta. My Mom’s pesto is garlicy and basily and it sticks to whatever you put it on.. without all the grease!
Mom’s pesto is amazing because you can make it as thick as you want depending on how much cheese you use. I love to spread it on chicken and then bake it. It’s also amazing to use in a stir fry with veggies, on fish, and a tri-layer lasagna (cheese, tomato sauce and pesto) is one of my specialties.
It’s super easy, you need a food processor, basil, walnuts, fresh garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salad oil (like canola) and water. **The reason Mom’s pesto isn’t greasy is that she changed the call for full oil, to an oil mix with water.**
In the food processor, 1/3 cup walnuts and a large clove of garlic (or a little more depending on how garlicy you want it) Pulse the processor until it’s chopped but not too smooth. Add a cup of tightly packed basil leaves. Pulse again a few times until the basil is chopped. Add 1/4cup olive oil, 1/4 cup salad oil and a 1/4 cup of water and 1/2-3/4 cup of cheese. Pulse again.
A few tips I’ve picked up over my many years and hundreds of batches. It helps to use a spatula to scrape the sides of the food processor as you go to make sure everything mixes well. I also make 3-5 batches at a time. Every batch I put into a large mixing bowl. Each new batch I add, I mix and then taste. Then if the mix as a whole needs more garlic, I can add an extra clove to the next batch.. or if it needs more cheese.. etc…
Mom is happy to share the recipe.. though maybe it should be called Naomi’s pesto.. since it makes much less sense if you call it Mom’s pesto!!
Whatever you call it- enjoy!!