Even though I made pesto a couple of weeks ago, my basil plant was in need of another big cut back. After cutting all of the basil for pesto I realized that I was out of pine nuts, so I substituted them with walnuts. I grabbed a handful and it ended up being a bit more than I had planned on. Luckily, it was a happy mistake. I dressed up the pesto with some red pepper flakes, which made it a delicious blend of spicy and nutty. This sauce does not have the great green color that regular pesto has; the walnuts create more of a paste than the pine nuts do, which mutes the color. Thankfully what it lacks in color, it more than makes up for in taste. I served it over some fettuccine and added a couple of sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes.
Spicy Walnut Pesto
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1 cloves roughly chopped garlic
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 3/4 tsp – 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan or other hard cheese
- Wash and dry your basil leaves.
- In the bowl of your food processor, place the walnuts, garlic, basil, salt and pepper.
- Process for 15 seconds or until everything is roughly chopped.
- With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.
- Add the cheese, and puree for a minute.
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer with a little bit of olive oil on top. This will keep air out of the pesto which can ruin it.