Pesto with optional Sunflower Seeds

Simply ingredients for a delectable pesto sauce.

Freshly Chopped Basil carries over a summer flavor into early fall! Add Pesto to your favorite Pasta, Soup, use as a Sandwich Spread, added into a Cheese Ball, or on a baguette as an appetizer. Very easy to assemble and make; less than 10 minutes to prepare and enjoy!

Pesto will leave you wanting MORE! Serves 6 people.  This recipe allows for an Optional 1/4 cup of  Roasted Sunflower seeds, Pine Nuts, or Walnuts for a nuttier flavor.

LET’S BEGIN:  Fill pasta pan with water and place on burner set at high to boil.

Use a Food Processor for quickest preparation. Set to chop then blend. OR a cutting board with a half moon, OR mortar.

Homemade Pesto and Pasta

2 cups Basil Leaves (Stores now sells containers or you can buy a plant. Remove and wash leaves.)
1 large single garlic clove
(optional 1/2 cup Pine Nuts or Walnuts)
1/2 -3/4 cup Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Pecorino Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Drizzle over Pasta and Pesto
1 cup Parmesan Cheese to top off Pasta dishes.
A few small springs of basil set aside for presentation.

Finished Pesto


Freshly chopped herbs and garlic done by knife or half moon.

With Processer “Set to OFF” add basil leaves and garlic clove ( If opting to use nuts you may add them in at this point). Begin to “CHOP” leaves and garlic (nuts) for about 30 seconds. (Same for assembly with half moon or mortar.)

Set processor  to “PUREE” and through spout of machine slowly add HALF of olive oil. (If making by hand and incorporate cheese, spices and oil with a fork) Allow processor to work. Set oil aside. Add Salt and Pepper. Slowly add cheese, alternating with olive oil. Allow to BLEND together for about 1 minute. Set aside or cover and store in the refrigerator.

Pesto made with the mortar brings the oils from the herbs to the sauce.

Add pasta of choice to BOILING water. Add 2 Tbsp salt. Allow pasta to boil for 1 minute
less of indicated time. (If box indicates boil 8 minutes, then boil for 7 minutes to achieve “al dente” and allow pasta to “absorb pesto”.) Drain water from cooked pasta. Rinse pasta with cold water for 10 seconds; (RECOMMENDED RINSE ONLY for this pasta dish), so that the cheese in the pesto will not coagulate to the pasta.

Place pasta in a large serving dish.  Add prepared 1/2 cup Pesto for 4 individuals . With two forks toss pasta and pesto together until pasta is dressed in pesto. (Additional pesto for more flavor!)

Serve into individual dishes. Drizzle a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over pasta and top off with desired cheese. Place basil spring on top of prepared pasta for presentation.

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio