Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mixed Pesto Sauce with Nuts

Let's talk about basil. This is a perfect time--basil in pots and gardens is ready to be harvested, fresh and unbelievably aromatic.

I cannot imagine my life without the pesto sauce. About once in ten days my kids ask for "green sauce pasta" which is pasta served with pesto. Most easy and one of the most delicious pasta dishes.

I have known the pesto sauce for over two decades but I never bought it. I always make my own, as organic as possible. I grow my own basil, I add the best oils and once in a while a make a big jar of pesto, which I serve fresh and I freeze the rest in small containers. Then unfrozen it is always fresh and bright green as on the day I make it.

Over the years, I also came up with some modification to load my pesto with vitamins and all the good stuff that my kids do not like to eat. Although mostly made of basil leaves my pesto has also half a cup of parsley. Besides traditionally used pine nuts I toast some pumpkin seeds and a bit of walnuts. I also use two types of oil: extra virgin olive and rice bran oil. This way my pesto is full of vitamins and, thanks to basil and parsley, one serving of pasta with my pesto sauce delivers daily requirements of vitamins K, A and C and, because of all types of nuts and oils used in it, also vitamins E, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and magnesium.

For extra taste I add a squeeze of lemon juice, which you will not find in the traditional recipes, but which preserves the sauce and its color and adds an extra taste to it which my kids enjoy more than the more bland taste of the traditional pesto.

Mixed Pesto Sauce with Nuts

1 large bunch (about 2 cups) fresh basil leaves,
1/2 cup curled parsley leaves,
1 cup best extra virgin olive oil,
1/3 cup rice bran oil,
juice from half a lemon,
2-3 garlic cloves,
1/4 cup pine nuts,
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds,
2 tbsp walnuts,
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese,
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

1. Place all the ingredients except the Parmesan in a blender and run the blender until you obtain a smooth creamy sauce.

2. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, add the Parmesan, and mix well with a spoon. Serve fresh with pasta or freeze for future use in a tightly closed, preferably glass, containers.