Homemade Spinach and Basil Pesto

Well, what better to do with tons of basil?

I keep forgetting we have a food processor. I’ve not yet decided if I forget about it because I don’t use it, or I don’t use it because I forget it exists. Chicken, egg, who knows. Luckily it does exist (conveniently, in my kitchen), so I was able to pull this together today. I suppose this may be possible to achieve in a blender, but I think the risk of complete liquefaction may be too high.

Most pesto recipes call for pine nuts. Pine nuts are expensive and I don’t really like them anyway, so I went with walnuts instead. Go, omega-3s!

Spinach and Basil Pesto

9 oz package of baby spinach leaves
1 cup of basil leaves
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of walnuts
2 tbsp good olive oil, and keep more on hand for later
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt

Toast the walnuts in a pan or in the oven and crush them until they’re almost a powder. I put them in a ziplock bag and rolled a coffee mug over them a few dozen times.

Mince the garlic and saute in the olive oil for a couple of minutes. Toss in the spinach leaves and let them wilt – you don’t want to cook them much, just get them wilty and soft. Dump it all into the food processor. Add the nuts, cheese, and basil, and pulse until they turn into mush, then add the lemon juice, salt, and some pepper, then pulse a bit more while adding a drizzle of olive oil until you like the consistency. I found I needed about 2 extra tbsp of olive oil, on top of what I cooked the spinach in. I also needed more salt, but I’m leaving the recipe at 1/2 tsp because I’m not sure how much more I added. I just sprinkled more on with the salt shaker and pulsed the processor a few times, until I was happy with the taste.

I took the advice of some online friends and froze most of my pesto in an ice cube tray. Once it’s solid I’ll move it to a ziplock bag and keep it in the freezer until I want to use some.

My pictures didn’t turn out well, so I’ll leave the green creamy deliciousness to your imagination for now. It’s pretty, and very, very green. When I use some in a pasta dinner, I’ll make sure to get a decent picture.

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