Pesto is traditionally made with basil and pine nuts, but as a blend of ground herbs and nuts with oil and cheese, its a recipe with a lot of versatility. In late summer, when basil comes into its peak, traditional pesto is incredible, but you can make it year-round with other seasonal ingredients.
|Pesto comes together easily in the food processor.|
For springtime, mint makes a wonderfully bright pesto. Enhancing its zippy flavor, I added a bit of lemon juice and, for color, blended pistachios in with the walnuts (I'd have used only pistachios except that I ran out of them).
Although I served this over pasta, I could see it going great with other things, like lamb chops perhaps, or spread on crusty bread and topped with grilled asparagus, goat cheese and arugula.
Pasta with Mint Pesto
1 lb. dried penne pasta
Handful of grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups loosely packed mint leaves
1 cup loosely lacked basil leaves
3 tbsp. roasted shelled pistachios
3 tbsp. chopped walnuts
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (may also use parmigiano-reggiano), plus more at the table
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions for al dente. When done, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water, drain noodles and return to pot with the reserved pasta water. Add tomatoes and stir with the hot noodles.
2. In a food processor, combine mint, basil, pistachios, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Pulse until mixture is ground up. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube until the mixture is emulsified and smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Add pesto to pasta and stir until combined. Serve with additional grated cheese on the side.