Presto Pesto! (And healthy too!)

With still a huge bouquet of basil left from last Sunday’s farmers’ market, I thought of making another batch of pesto, a family favorite around here. (I have two “World Famous” recipes in my repertoire (self-proclaimed, sadly).   Pesto is one of them.  The other is my bolognese sauce, but I won’t divulge that one until at least the first bite of winter!

But having gorged all summer long on enough butter and cheese from pesto to last a lifetime (okay, maybe only until next summer), I decided to make a lighter version which is not only lower in fat, but dairy-free as well.  Best of all, it comes together in less than half the time of the usual pesto, since there is no sauteing (in butter) of pine nuts and no shredding of big cheese chunks.  Oops…I may have given away the secret of my W.F. pesto recipe…

Here’s the light version:

Ingredients:

1 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups EVOO
10 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried*, no stems
4-6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon

Method:

1.  Preheat a small skillet over low heat.  Add pine nuts and lightly brown by shaking the pan and stirring the nuts, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn.  Set aside to cool.

2.  Add all ingredients to food processor or blender.  Puree until desired consistency, either chunky or smooth or somewhere in-between.

This recipe makes about 2 cups of pesto.  It can be stored for about 5 days in the fridge.

* A salad spinner works well to dry the leaves.