It's summer though, and alfredo and mac and cheese are pretty heavy. Undressed pasta gets pretty boring after awhile (unless its fancy ravioli, which I do really need to try my hand at) and clearly it was time to change things up. A pesto seemed just the way to do that. Just one problem, and one you've heard before: I'm cheap. And pinenuts are expensive. So I said screw that, I'm using almonds. It worked just fine, I think.
This is for a tiny batch, four servings. It doesn't make a lot, but what it does has some punch. When I first turned the processor on with the basil in there the kitchen filled up with the most wonderful bright, green scent. It even tastes green. (I'm not crazy, I sweat, but that's the most accurate description.)
- 1 large handful of fresh basil
- that translates to about one cup, or 40grams but this is a very rough measurement
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons almonds or other nuts of your choice
- I used blanched and unsalted, but you can use roasted
- pine nuts are much more traditional, but they're not cheap
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
- In a food processor (or a blender, or a magic bullet - use what you have), grind up your nuts until they're somewhat mealy.
- Add the basil to the processor, pulse for a couple of seconds. This is just to break up the basil a bit and mix it with the nuts before the oil goes in. (I find things mix up better this way.) This is where it starts to smell good.
- Add the olive oil to the processor and give it a few whirls. You're looking for the basil to break down completely and for all three components to start to mix together. Scrape down the bowl once or twice between whirls.
- When everything is well blended, add the parmesan and give it a final spin or two, just to evenly distribute the cheese throughout the sauce.
- You have almond pesto! Pour it over some freshly cooked pasta (or mix it up with the pasta) and enjoy. Or do some other crazy things with it - use it as sandwich spread, or to marinate some chicken or whatever makes you happy.