Traditional basil pesto is rustic and perfect just the way it is, but change is good and should be embraced – pesto included! Peppery Double Parmesan Basil Pesto is an updated version of a trusted classic, because every day deserves something extra!
From time to time, we are given food items – I’m not sure if we come across as needy, or if it’s because these people know about Lord Byron’s Kitchen. Either way, when someone has put in the effort, time, and patience it takes to grow something right in their backyard, and would like to share it with us, we are very grateful.
A colleague of John.e’s – Adam – grew the basil that you see in these photos, on his deck right here in Toronto. The leaves were so tender and fresh; and they had a very consistent green colour, which is hard to do! I grew basil once before, or at least I tried. It was so hard to keep the bugs off of it, so I just gave up and let those bugs feast away!
I used Adam’s basil in one of the best ways I know how – uncooked! I think a herb as delicate as basil, doesn’t need anything but a good wash in some cold water. That’s why pesto is my go-to dish for fresh basil. It’s pureed with some other ingredients, never losing it’s beautiful green colour, flavour, or scent.
Some ingredients are perfect they way they are and shouldn’t be compromised too much. In this particular Peppery Double Parmesan Basil Pesto, I basically did just what the title of the recipe suggests – I increased the amount of ground black pepper and the amount of parmesan too.
To increase the pepper level even more, I added a little bit of dried red chili flakes to the food processor. The ground black pepper provided heat and warmth, while the dried red chili flakes provided heat and spice. I balanced that heat with the saltiness and creaminess of the parmesan, as well as a little bit of lemon juice. Delicious!
Lord Byron’s Kitchen has a few pesto recipes that you should take a look at if you love pesto as much as we do. In addition to the classics – Sun Dried Tomato Pesto and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto – I’ve also got some new and interesting pesto options. I’d like to say that this one or that one is my favourite, but I can’t pick and choose. I love them all!
Scallion and Basil Pesto is super vibrant and fresh if that’s what you’re looking for, and in contrast, Artichoke and Lemon Pesto with Capers is hearty, chunky, and bold. And, I wouldn’t be doing this post justice if I didn’t include my recipe for Almond and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto; this one is in my top 5 for sure!
When the day is done, and you’re tired and lacking energy, a comforting dinner is just what one needs. For me, a comforting dinner is something that’s easy, delicious, and carb-filled. Now, prepare some pasta and toss it with this Peppery Double Parmesan Basil Pesto. Dinner is ready!
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Peppery Double Parmesan Basil Pesto
- 3 cups basil leaves, fresh, packed
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
Place a cast iron skillet on a burner over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and shake the skillet so that the pine nuts are in a single layer. Keep the pine nuts moving so that they don't burn. As soon as you can smell the woodiness, and see the pine nuts turn a golden brown, remove them from the skillet immediately to a cool glass dinner plate. Try to keep them in a single layer so that they can cool down.
Next, add the basil, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and all of the basil is finely pureed.
Add the cooled pine nuts and pulse 3 or 4 times until the pine nuts are crushed and incorporated.
Next, add the ground black pepper, dried red chili flakes, and parmesan cheese. Pulse 3 or 4 times until mixed through. Do not over-pulse, you want there to be little specks of pine nuts and parmesan throughout the pesto.
Set aside pesto. Cook pasta and toss the desired amount of pesto with the hot pasta. Serve immediately.
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