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Basil Pesto Variations

October 06, 2016

Basil, an aromatic herb, is a cooking essential many of us use and love. Along with its use in enhancing the flavor of many dishes, its bountiful assortment of essential oils and phytochemicals extend its use way beyond the kitchen. Here at La Prima Catering, our favorite of its many uses is hands down, pesto. But not just any ordinary pesto will do. We grow fresh basil in our urban garden that we use to craft our own pesto. With the temperatures still high and the basil plants still thriving, now’s the time to take advantage of this versatile herb. Here are a few pesto variations for you to try at home.

Fresh Avocado Pesto

Talk about the perfect summer sauce! Combine the texture of pesto with the creaminess of fresh avocado and you’ve got flavors made for summer. Here’s How:

Ingredients: 16 Servings
  • Large bunch of Fresh Basil
  • Ripe Avocado 2
  • Walnuts ½ cup
  • Lemon Juice 2 tbsp
  • Garlic 3 cloves
  • Fine Sea Salt ½ tsp
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil ½ cup
  • Ground Pepper to taste
Prep and Presentation

    Strip basil leaves from stems and add to food processor along with avocados, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, and salt; pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and process to form a thick paste. Season to taste with pepper.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

One way to add a kick to traditional pesto is with the distinct flavor of red peppers. Add dimension to your next pesto dish with this variation. Here’s how:

Ingredients: 4-8 Servings
  • Fresh Basil 1 cup
  • Walnuts 1 cup
  • Roasted Red Bell Peppers 8
  • Olive Oil ½ cup
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground Pepper to taste
Prep and Presentation

    Pulse the garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the walnuts and pulse a few more times to break up any large pieces. Add the roasted red peppers and basil and process, streaming in the oil as you go, until all the ingredients are well combined and as coarse or as smooth as you want them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry Pesto

Never underestimate the power of sweet and savory. This delightful pair adds an interesting twist to classic pesto. Enhance this recipe by using fresh strawberries and basil for an even better flavor. Here’s how:

Ingredients: Makes 1 full jar
  • Fresh Strawberries (chopped) 1 handful
  • Toasted Pine Nuts 1 handful
  • Ground Walnuts 3-4 tbsp
  • Parmesan Cheese 4 tbsp
  • Olive Oil 1 tbsp
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Fresh Basil 1 handful
  • Salt ¼ - ½ tsp
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
Prep and Presentation

Pulse the garlic and salt in a food processor until finely chopped. Add olive oil, herbs, pine nuts, and lemon and pulse until finely chopped. Add Parmesan, ground walnuts, and strawberries. Pulse as many times as necessary to achieve desired texture. Taste and adjust if needed with salt, lemon and olive oil. Move the pesto to a jar or container. Keep in the fridge until serving

As always, for more local food inspiration or details on our farm to table events, contact us today at info@laprimacatering.com or 301.477.3515.

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