When you work for the family pecan business, those "super nuts" have a tendency to infiltrate recipes. Which, I don't mind because it just makes traditional dishes a little more creative. When you don't have access to pine nuts for a traditional pesto, consider substituting with pecans. Their high oil content means you won't sacrifice flavor or silkiness. The depth of flavor is robust and chances are you already have pecans in your fridge (yes, that is where they should be stored). Enjoy this quick and delicious pecan pesto!
Bonus tip: Toss the pecans in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes to unlock their flavor.
I used Mammoth pecan halves, but smaller varieties (such as Elliott) will have an even higher oil content.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, no stems
- 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup good EVOO
- 1/4 cup plain pecan halves
- 3 large garlic cloves
- Toast pecan halves in a skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes. No oil is needed in the pan due to the pecans' naturally high oil content.
- In a food processor, pulse basil leaves, garlic cloves, and pecans until finely ground.
- Continue to grind while slowly adding EVOO through the top of the food processor.
- Finally, add Parmesan cheese and gently pulse until just blended.
- Store in the refrigerator. Freeze if you plan to use at a later date.
- Of course, high-quality ingredients are preferable when making simple recipes. To that end, you can still make a pesto that is affordable and on-budget. Just get the best ingredients you can afford and you're pesto will be delicious.