Pesto is a love language and everyone wants to be spoken to. It’s the safety net, the comfort favorite, and the ultimate go-to. If I’m cooking for people whose taste buds I don’t know, or am feeling weary about serving something “interesting” or “different”, I do not take the road less traveled by. I take the one lined with pesto.
I grew up loving pesto, too. When my mom was raising my sister and me and was Mom-level crazy busy, an easy dinner was pasta dumped with the store bought stuff which still blew my socks off. Much later, I made my own and subsequently had a mini life revelation. If I was already in love with the store bought stuff, I wanted to propose to the homemade version.
This is pesto, leveled up. It adds butter and olive oil instead of just olive oil. When added to anything that’s steaming hot, the butter melts and imparts the luxury it’s notorious for. Yes, this recipe has dairy because it also has cheese in addition to the butter, but I’ve included a whole30 version below using ghee & omitting the parmesan cheese for a little more nuts & lemon zest.
If someone is intimidated by making this at home, I see no reason for it. All you need to do is blitz the ingredients in a food processor and you are DONE. Italian grandmothers would scoff at me because they take the time to chop e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g by hand until it becomes a paste, but I know that’s not practical for the home cook. The taste, however, is practical and lovely to anyone and everyone no matter how it’s done.
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