As you know by now, I am a sucker for pasta. Every single carb laden delicious version. Ravioli, lasagna, linguine, simple penne with red sauce, anything I can get my hands on, I devour! There isn’t a pasta that I don’t love. Another thing I love is fast food. Not fast food restaurant fast food but real food made quickly. With my busy work schedule and long hours, a healthy, tasty meal cooked in less than 30 minutes is my food life 5 days a week.
This recipe ticks off tons of things I love. First, it is crazy fast to make. You can have a full dinner ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta. If you want to make this a bit more substantial, sear some chicken or shrimp and toss in some sautéed veggies. Second, it is decently healthy. Not kale-chia-quinoa-yogapants-Idrinkonlymatchasoylattes-quick-wait-juicecleanse kind of healthy but it is made of real, fresh ingredients whose names I can all pronounce. That is my kind of healthy. I think that you need to be happy to be truly healthy and, frankly, less than healthy food is something that gives me great joy. I embrace that…and then I compromise to stay physically healthy at the same time.
Here, home grown basil and good quality olive oil star. Most pesto has basil, cheese, and some pine nuts all held together with a drizzle of olive oil. Because I like to buy large quantities of food that can be used for many purposes, I discovered that raw almonds (of which I had a massive quantity…from Costco of course!) lend a great flavor to the standard basil pesto. I like the subtleness of the almond instead of the pine nut punch. Here in Hawaii, lots of chefs use macadamia nuts in their pesto to give it a local flair. It is a great touch, I just don’t feel like buying a bunch of different nuts when one kind serves me so well!
For this one, I don’t have any meaningful words of wisdom. The message is simple – find a way to make what you love something you need. Find the balance between healthy and sinfully delicious or between fast and easy and complex and involved. You need to have that compromise to make the things you love even more vibrant. Sitting in the balance is the key. Enjoy your adventures and find your own middle ground.
Happy cooking ~ Molly
Basil Almond Pesto
- 5 cups basil leaves, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- coarse salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- In a food processor, process almonds with a pinch of salt until finely chopped
- Add garlic and basil; pulse until roughly chopped
- Slowly pour in olive oil while pulsing until the mixture reaches your desired texture; pulsing, mix in the cheese; season with salt and pepper
- Serve tossed with freshly cooked pasta or on crostini