Yields: 1 to 2 cups
Prep. time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: Just a few minutes to toast the pine nuts
Special equipment: Food processor
- A few tbsp. fresh chervil, coarsely chopped
- A few tbsp. fresh basil, chiffonade cut (roll up the leaves then cut the roll, creating skinny, long slices of leaf)
- A few tbsp. fresh chives, coarsely chopped
- A few tbsp. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- A few tbsp. fresh sage, coarsely chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 - 1 cup shredded Italian cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano are the best)
- A little over 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted (preheat the oven to 350*F and toast the nuts on a small pan for just a few minutes, checking frequently. Toast until they are fragrant and just barely golden-brown, but not burnt. Really, it only takes about 3-5 minutes.)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the five herbs, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, and some of the olive oil, plus a little salt and pepper, in the food processor and blend until well-combined. Add in the rest of the olive oil and blend until the mixture is well-blended, with no chunks of garlic or pine nuts and no large pieces of herbs mixed in. The mixture will be thick—it should be more like a spread than a liquid sauce.
This pesto is incredibly flavorful and definitely gets better with age. The blend of herbs adds bitter, salty, spicy, "green," and nutty tastes to the mixture and it's absolutely perfect spread on a slice of Italian bread. It could easily be used as a pasta sauce or a condiment for a sandwich, and I'm betting it would be great as a substitute for tomato sauce on a pizza or you could mix it with mozzarella cheese and use the mixture to stuff chicken breasts. Versatile, flavorful, and a great way to use up some leftover herbs.