Pesto with a springtime punch.
Don’t limit yourself to basil when you’re making pesto. This recipe calls for any tender green herb – baby arugula, spinach, or ramps make a beautiful and bright pesto that can be enjoyed while waiting for #PeakOfSeason basil. [Editor’s note: recipe from Sam Mogannam’s Eat Good Food Cookbook.]
2 large cloves garlic (1 if using mostly ramps)
2 cups packed fresh leafy herbs: basil, cilantro, ramps, parsley, arugula, or a mixture
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/4 cup nuts: pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, or pistachios, toasted if you’d like (optional)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or any other salty grating cheese)
Put the garlic in the bowl of a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to chop. Add the herbs, olive oil, nuts, lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Pulse and blend until smooth. Add the cheese and blend just until incorporated. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt as needed; you can also thin the pesto by adding more olive oil.
Keep the pulses on the food processor to a minimum; over-processing the pesto will heat up the mixture, leading to discoloration and muted flavors. For a true taste of the Old World, try making the pesto by hand in a mortar and pestle, mashing and mixing everything until smooth.
Pesto definitely tastes best as soon as its’s made, but it also freezes incredibly well. Freeze in Tupperware, mason jars or an ice cube tray and then transfer to a zip-top bag. The ice tray cubes are the perfect size for a single portion of pasta, veggies or a sandwich.