It’s been a pretty dry August so far. I think it may have rained like 3 times since the month started. Le sigh. This has led me to watering our back yard garden quite a bit. I’m not a fan of using water from the hose when it’s supposed to come from the sky. (Please rain. Please.) So every time I walk out to give the plants a little drink, I trot past our pot of basil. It grows happily as if we aren’t in the middle of a semi-drought. In fact, our basil plant is becoming quite the monster. It’s huge.
Thus the inspiration behind our recipe for today. Pesto uses tons of basil, which is exactly what I need right now– and it’s darn delicious. And, of course, I have to push the limits of deliciousness and tamper with a different version of the recipe. Jalapeno’s are in my garden, too. Jalapeno-Basil Pesto it is!
But this is no ordinary basil pesto. We didn’t just toss in a jalapeno and call it a day. No sir. Instead of pine nuts, I tossed in some pumpkin seeds. They’re Mexican, have a more mild flavor, and are less expensive than pine nuts. Victory! In place of Parmesan cheese, we used cotija. If you’re not familiar, cotija cheese is a lot like Parmesan, but more mild and less stinky. You may recognize cotija as the cheese that is sprinkled all over the to-die-for Mexican corn on a stick, elote. Because the cotija and pepitas are more subtle in flavor, they really let the basil and jalapeno flavors shine while complimenting them at the same time. This stuff is so good, I was so tempted to just shovel it in my mouth as-is. And I may or may not have given into this temptation on more than one occasion.
So what da heck are you gonna do with your lovingly crafted, incredibly delicious jalapeno-basil pesto? Don’t get me started! But since you asked:
- slather it on a sandwich
- toss it with some pasta
- stir it into some tuna salad
- spread it on a cob of freshly boiled corn
- mix it with some ground beef for a burger, meatloaf, or meatballs
- on a pizza, either before or after it’s baked
- stir into scrambled eggs
- add to bread dough
- toss with steamed veggies
- mix with sour cream to make a dip
- top off your favorite bowl of soup
So needless to say, you need to make a quadruple batch of this. Really, you’ll be happy you did. And on that note…
Too little time? Try this hack. This pesto is so versatile, easy to make, and finger-lickin’ good, it really is a good idea to make a double batch, or more! And if you do, toss whatever you don’t use into the freezer. Pesto freezes well and will be there to add flavor to whatever meal needs its services.
So what would you use your Jalapeno-Basil Pesto for? Tell your thoughts! See you soon!
- ¼ cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and stem removed
- 2 firmly packed cups fresh basil leaves
- ¾ cup grated cotija or Parmesan cheese
- ½ – 1 jalapeno, stem removed and split in half lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- ⅔ – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the pepitas and garlic in a food processor, then pulse until finely chopped. Add the basil leaves, cheese, jalapeno, and lime juice. Continue processing until the basil is finely chopped.
- With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. If you don’t have a food processor with this capability, simply add a little bit of olive oil at a time, blending after each addition. Blend until the pesto is your desired consistency. Some like it chunky, some like it smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, blend again, then you’re good to go! You can spread this deliciousness on a sandwich, toss it with pasta, use it as a salad dressing, and so much more!