Yesterday morning while planning out meals for the next week, I began looking through the 12th Edition of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. I already had a meal with chicken written on my weekly list, so I was looking for something with either pork or beef. I happened to see one recipe called “Pesto-Stuffed Pork Chops.” I did a quick read-through to see if this recipe was something I wanted to try out…and it sounded amazing!
Conveniently, one of the items on my to-do list this weekend was to freeze some basil from my overgrown basil plant. Since pesto’s main ingredient is basil, and I have wayyyy too much on hand, the thought of making homemade pesto -and then using it for my pork chops – sounded ideal.
I found this pesto recipe online. I wasn’t sure how to compare pesto recipes, but I found one reviewer on Allrecipes who had tested several pesto recipes, and this was her favorite. This recipe also called for almonds rather than pine-nuts, so I thought “what the heck?”
Turns out, this pesto is super yummy!!! Very garlic-y (that’s a good thing) with a great texture. I will post the pesto-stuffed pork chops in the next week or so but for now, this pesto deserves its own post. And, pesto can be used on all kinds of things – bruschetta, pasta, pizza, etc. I wouldn’t recommend that you try this recipe unless you have a basil plant, or can borrow from someone else’s basil plant. My reason for saying that is, it took nearly 2 full cups of basil leaves to yield about 1/3 C of pesto. While that was great for my purposes, it is a lot to spend if you’re buying basil leaves at the store, which run about $3-$4 for a tiny bit.
1/4 C slivered almonds
3 cloves garlic
1.5-2 C fresh basil leaves, washed
1/3 to 1/2 C olive oil
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
1. Lightly toast almonds in skillet over medium heat (put into a dry skillet.) Watch carefully – nuts burn easily.
2. In a food processor*, blend almonds, garlic, basil, olive oil, nutmeg and salt and pepper until it reaches a pasty consistency.
*I do not have a large 9- or 12-cup food processor, I only have a mini food processor so I made my pesto in two batches (you better believe I am putting a large processor on my wedding registry 🙂 )
Note: The original recipe calls for 1/2 C oil, but I didn’t want my pesto super oily since it would simply run off the pork, so I used less. Depending on your recipe, you may want the full amount of oil.
Another note: feel free to subsitute pine nuts for a more traditional pesto, or add sundried tomatoes, other herbs, parmesan, etc.