If you grow basil in your garden or find it at a farmers market, make some of this homemade macadamia nut pesto. This outstanding pesto is far superior to the commercial type available in the markets. It takes just a few minutes to make it, plus it also freezes beautifully. Enjoy the flavors of fresh basil, lemon, parmesan cheese and macadamia nuts blended together. Serve tossed with our favorite pasta noodles. Also excellent as a pizza topping!
Recipe, comments, and photo were shared with my by Karen Calanchini, Food Stylist and Photographer, of Redding, CA. Check out more of Karen’s outstanding pesto recipes: Basil Pesto with Pistachio Nuts and Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil, and Almond Nut Pesto.
Macadamia Nut Pesto Recipe:
2 tightly-packed cups fresh basil leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh chives
1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice*
1/4 cup Macadamia nuts, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic
Coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
* The fresh lemon juice helps keep the green color in the pesto.
Wash the basil leaves, discard the stems, and dry thoroughly. Also peel off any thick spines from any larger basil leaves. Place all ingredients into a food processor; whirl until completely chopped and forms a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pulse a few more times. Taste again and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Serve any extra pesto in a dish on the side. Your guests may want additional pesto on their tomatoes.
Pesto can also be used on pasta, in soups, on sandwiches - just use your imagination.
Makes 1 cup pesto.
Storing Pesto: Pesto will keep for up to 4 weeks in a covered container in the refrigerator. Pour a thin film of olive oil on top of the pesto to prevent discoloration. For longer storage, do not add the Parmesan cheese until ready to use. Below are some ideas on how to freeze pesto. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the pesto to minimize any exposure to air and subsequent browning. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to two weeks. Before using, leave at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Freezing Pesto: Spoon the pesto into a foil-lined custard cup; cover tightly with foil and freeze. Once frozen, remove the foil-wrapped packet and store in a freezer bag for up to 2 to 3 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or remove from the foil and thaw quickly in the microwave. Add Parmesan cheese just before serving. Freeze in ice cube trays. I like to spray an ice cube tray with non-stick spray and fill each space with the pesto When frozen, remove each cube to a freezer bag. You will be able to take out as many of the pesto cubes as your need. Usually one (1) cube is enough for adding flavor a red pasta sauce or a pot of soup.