How to make basil-cashew pesto
This is a pretty garlic-forward recipe, so you can decrease the number of cloves if you're especially sensitive to the raw stuff.
Makes 2 cups
Cashews give this pesto a rich creaminess. The recipe can be doubled easily.
This is good for pasta, of course, and also as a last-minute stir-in for sauteed vegetables.
The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 8 months.
- 6 medium cloves garlic
- Generous pinch coarse kosher salt
- About 140g basil leaves (4 cups)
- About 140g (1 cup) raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
- 1 generous tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more as needed
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
- Water (optional)
- Combine the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, mash to form a coarse paste. Alternately, process the garlic and salt in a food processor until the garlic is finely chopped.
- Rinse the basil leaves well, transferring them to a food processor without drying them; the extra moisture is needed for the mix. Add the cashews, sesame seeds, lemon juice, Parm and the garlic paste. Puree to achieve the desired consistency.
- With the motor running, gradually add the oil to form an emulsified pesto. Taste, and add water (for consistency) or more salt, as needed. Transfer to a container; if you are not using the pesto right away, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on its surface before sealing and storing.