Two-Basil Walnut Pesto and Chard Stem Gratin

Today I did something I have wanted to do for a long time – I made pesto! I used my genovese and cinnamon basil from the garden, and some chopped walnuts and olive oil I had on hand.

4 cups packed basil leaves (I used genovese and cinnamon basil)
2/3 cup walnuts
6 garlic cloves (could use more if desired)
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional, I didn’t add any at this point because I wanted to freeze some. I just added it later with the pasta but if you are planning on eating it right away just toss the cheese in ASAP).

Grind up the basil, walnuts, and garlic in the food processor. I just have a little mini one and this project helped me decide that I want a big awesome food processor instead. At first I tried to do this in the blender so that I wouldn’t have to do it in shifts but that was a sloppy mess and had to put it back in the processor anyway.  Add the oil a bit at a time (you should add in a steady stream, but if you have a mini food processor like me this isn’t an option). Then add as much salt and pepper as you like, and voila!

This made about 2 cups of pesto. It is more oily than I prefer, I think next time I’ll reduce the amount of olive oil. But it’s still phenomenal! I froze half of it, ate some on Triscuits immediately, and used about 1/2 cup on some pasta for dinner! I tossed it with some garlic basil linguine from Trader Joe’s and shelled garden peas, and garnished with some chopped walnuts and basil. It was heavenly!
Despite my aversion to turning on the oven in the heat, we had some fantastic swiss chard stem gratin on the side. I really didn’t want to waste the beautiful stems. I read online that you can parboil them for a bit to make them tender. Here’s my recipe, I will definitely be making this again, may even harvest chard just for the stems, I loved it so much!

Stems from 2-3 bunches of swiss chard
1/3 c. Bread crumbs
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper

Boil the stems for 10-15 min, until tender. Some might still be tough after boiling, discard those. Chop stems on the diagonal into 2″ pieces. Put into baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and toss. Toss with bread crumbs and cheese, salt & pepper to taste.

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes until bubbly. SOOOO awesome! This will probably be a standard at my house for Thanksgiving, it was so good.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by etwasinspired on July 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    This sounds sooo good. I really want to make my own pesto too. It’s best when you don’t have to buy the basil! I just made some tomato basil mozarella salad- delish!


  2. Posted by Paula Drew on July 6, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Inspired! Totally making fresh basil tonight… Way to go Holly, I love your blog, keep the recipes flowing!


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