Makes 1 cup
When you think of the South you don’t necessarily think pesto. But, in a land where pine nuts are hard to come by, Southern-grown pecans turn out to be an easy and flavorful substitute, along with the nutty sweetness of pecan oil (or use olive oil). In the summer months, we harvest armfuls of spicy basil from the garden and spend the afternoon, iced tea in hand, diligently working the food processor. Add this pesto to anything from a bowl of whole-wheat pasta to a marinade for grilled salmon steaks.
2cups fresh basil leaves1clove garlic¼cup pecans, roughly chopped⅔cup pecan oil or olive oilSalt and pepper, to taste½cup grated Spanish manchego or ParmesanExtra pecan oil or olive oil (for sprinkling)
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine basil, garlic, and pecans. Pulse until roughly chopped. With the processor running, slowly pour the pecan or olive oil through the feed tube until fully combined.
2. Season the mixture generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the cheese. Spoon into a jar or other airtight container. Cover the surface of the pesto with a thin layer of oil.
To freeze Omit the cheese. Spoon the pesto into ice cube trays, freeze until solid, pop out the cubes, and transfer to a zipper plastic bag or container. When ready to use, defrost and stir in a couple teaspoons of cheese. Katherine Hysmith