I was single and living in London at the time I was introduced to pesto. The two major grocery chains in Britain at the time were Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Both sold ready made red and green pesto which made meals a snap on nights I didn’t feel like cooking. Boil some pasta, mix some pesto and voila! dinner is served. I loved it. Getting pesto in small bottles wasn’t that easy in the US when I moved here (though that has changed over the years) so I learned how to make it. It is very to make.
I have to confess though that as much as I love pesto, I have never been a huge fan of pine nuts. There is something odd about their taste that doesn’t do it for me. So when I met an old friend for lunch at Whiskey Cake and the chef offered a dish made with pecan pesto, my curiosity was aroused. I couldn’t really taste the pecan pesto in the dish that I had that day but the idea of using pecan instead of pine nuts had taken root.
And so, the next time I made pasta, I decided to try making a pecan pesto. It turned out to be the best pesto I have ever had in my life. Let me repeat that – “THE BEST PESTO I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE”. The wife agreed, the picky kid complained a little (par for the course) and the adventurous kid gobbled it down.
Here it is. This recipe is as simple as it gets. It tastes divine. You may want to adjust the level of olive oil to your liking.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 4)
- 1.5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup toasted pecan
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a food processor put all the ingredients except for the olive oil, salt and pepper
2.Pulse until chopped.
3. With the food processor running, start pouring the olive oil down to get the consistency you want – a little liquidy for pasta, a little dry for use on sandwiches and pizza.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.