Currently my garden is producing a huge surplus of Sage, so recently I asked on Twitter what fellow food bloggers thought I should do with it. Making pesto was the first of several good ideas people mentioned for using fresh sage. (More posts coming!)
For people like my recent refrigerator repairman who aren’t familiar with pesto, it’s a type of Italian pasta sauce made with crushed herbs and garlic. The classic Pesto alla Genovese is made with Genovese basil, salt, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. These days pesto is made with many types of herbs, and other ingredients can also vary.
When I set out to make the sage pesto, I looked at a few recipes, but didn’t really follow any of them. (What would be the fun in that?) Instead I thought about how I’d like to use the pesto and what I wanted it to taste like. My recipe is fairly heavy on cheese and nuts, and I also put a pretty generous amount of garlic to balance the strong flavor of sage. I saw lots of sage pesto made with walnuts, but I only had pecans, which were great in this.
When it comes right down to it, pesto is a personal thing isn’t it? If you happen to try this recipe, I encourage you to adapt it to your own taste. I’m planning to use my version of sage pesto for things like stuffed chicken breasts or on roasted squash, and maybe in lasagna with spinach.
This sage pesto is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging #147, hosted by Katie from Thyme for Cooking. If you’d like to participate with an entry about cooking with herbs or unusual vegetables, check the new rules for Weekend Herb Blogging, and how to send your entry.
Here’s how the finished pesto looked in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, definitely you can make pesto by hand in a mortar and pestle, but I confess I’ve never done it. (Yes, the shame of it!)
Sage and Pecan Pesto
(Makes about 4 cups sage pesto which I froze in ice cube trays to make 18 cubes pesto, about 3 T each. Recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from many sources.)
3 large handfuls sage leaves, stems removed, washed and dried
3/4 cup unsalted pecans (or almonds)
1/3 cup chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups coarsely grated parmesan cheese (or more)
Snip sage leaves from stems with kitchen shears and place leaves in salad spinner. Wash and spin dry (or wash in sink and dry with paper towels.) Put sage in food processor fitted with steel blade and pulse until sage is finely chopped.Use cutting board and chef’s knife to chop garlic and pecans. (They will get chopped more in the food processor so they don’t have to be chopped too precisely.) Add pecans, garlic, salt, and parmesan to food processor and pulse until mixture is well combined but not completely pureed together. With food processor running, pour olive oil in through feed tube as you pulse, until the oil is blended with other ingredients. (Taste the pesto and see if you want more cheese, since sage is a strong flavor.)
If desired, freeze in ice cube trays or small containers. Will keep in the fridge for at least a week, or for months in the freezer. When my cubes are well frozen, I pop them out and seal them inside a plastic bag with the FoodSaver.
More Ideas with Sage Pesto: