Pesto has always been something that I have had a love/hate relationship with. I love the idea of the flavor that is bright and herbal with notes of wonderful freshness and nutty flavor with just a hint of creaminess from the olive oil. I find that a balance between the ingredients is often sorely lacking in most pesto recipes, so I set about creating my own version, and while it is a departure from the traditional, it is certainly full of wonderful flavor that does not overwhelm, and is always a joy to the palette.
The use of the whole Basil, is a key to this recipe, as the stem gives us a really wonderful herbal note that adds depth. A little trick that we have used here is to wilt the basil and zucchini in hot water for a short time, which not only keeps the lovely green color vibrant, but also sets the flavors so that they are less likely to become more bitter when they are bruised by the preparation in the food processor. The Roasted garlic adds a nuttiness and earthiness, it also tones down it’s ability to overwhelm the rest of the ingredients. Our onion or shallot adds a brightness and zest to help support the rest of the flavors. You can feel free to add some pine nuts if you prefer a nuttier flavor, but this recipe does not require them. I hope that you enjoy this muted, yet rich and lively pesto recipe.
2.8 Ounces, approximately 1/3 Cup
- 1-2 Cups Water
- 0.65-0.7 oz Fresh Basil, Stems Included
- 1 oz Fresh Zucchini, cut into pieces
- 0.5 oz Red Onion or Shallot
- 0.15 oz Roasted Garlic (about two Medium Cloves)
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 Tbsp Good Olive Oil
- Bring 1-2 Cups Water to a boil.
- Place Basil and Zucchini pieces in a bowl and pour the hot water over letting it sit for 30-45 seconds, or until the Basil starts to wilt slightly. Then drain and set aside.
- In your food processor, add the Red Onion, Garlic, and Zucchini and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add Salt, Olive Oil and Basil. Pulse for 2-3 minutes, stopping every 15-20 seconds to scrape the sides of the bowl. If it does not look creamy enough, add a tiny drizzle of olive oil and pulse more until it reaches the texture in the photo of the finished product.
- Enjoy! Serve on Pasta, on Chicken, as a spread on sandwiches/fresh baked breads, as a pizza sauce in the place of red sauce (with chicken and cheese for a chicken pesto pizza), or on a marinated salad as a dressing.