Pesto di Noce, walnut pesto, is one of my favorite versions of this beautiful Italian sauce. I first found a recipe for it in a Saveur article, “Glorious Pesto,” but I lost the cut out after I made it and subsequently fell in love. A couple of years ago, I stumbled across the recipe reprinted online.
I’ve been making it this way ever since, and the abundance of end-of-summer genovese basil was a perfect excuse to pull it out of the file. I’ve included the recipe below so you can try it yourself.
Ten basil plants pulled from my late-summer garden
In my case, I had about ten large basil plants that needed to be used, so I made about the same number of batches. Once you have picked the leaves and washed them well to remove any lingering dirt, don’t be afraid to pack them into your measuring cup.
Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and process until finely chopped. One other tip is to use high quality cheese. The aged pecorino adds a welcomed bite to the other flavors. One modification that I made to the original recipe is to use a bit of tomato paste in place of sun-dried tomatoes. I don’t think that the little bit of acidity imbalances the sauce at all.
The messier the workspace, the better it tastes!
Once you have made your pesto, be sure to use it within a few days. I chose to freeze mine in half-pint jars for use during winter. There’s nothing better than the reminder of summer on a cold night. Mangia!
Ten batches of walnut pesto to get me through winter
Recipe: Pesto di Noce
Process basil, oil, walnuts, pecorino, parmesan, tomatoes, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped; season with salt and pepper. Makes 1 1⁄2 cups.
Adapted from Saveur, July 28, 2011