Date Night Recipe: How to Make a This Quick and Easy Walnut Pesto Recipe
Do you like pesto? If so, I have a really easy homemade basil walnut pesto recipe that I love to serve with store-bought gnocchi. This is such an easy meal to make any night of the week and I just love pesto gnocchi. I have made homemade gnocchi in the past, but it is very time-consuming. However, making fresh basil pesto is actually really easy to do. It’s the perfect way to make an easy meal that still tastes super fresh.
This gnocchi and pesto recipe starts by making sure you have all of your key ingredients for fresh basil walnut pesto recipe. I opted to use walnuts instead of pine nuts because I had them on hand. Walnuts are also much cheaper than pine nuts. I personally don’t think the flavor is substantially different. You can use whichever nut you prefer.
I like to serve this walnut pesto recipe with gnocchi because I love how it coats the entire dumpling and I think it tastes so delicious. If you really don’t like gnocchi, you could use pretty much any other pasta with this homemade pesto recipe. For me, gnocchi and pesto go so well together. I also love gnocchi with a sage butter sauce.
If you love pesto, I think you’ll love this walnut pesto recipe. If you’re looking for other Italian recipes (like my family’s lasagna recipe), click here.
Walnut Pesto Recipe with Gnocchi
2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
2 cloves garlic peeled
¼ cup walnuts (pine nuts are traditional but expensive)
½ cup (8 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil, more for plating
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
To start, roast nuts for 5-7 minutes in a dry pan over medium heat, cool on a plate. Then add garlic cloves (still in casings) to the same pan, and roast for another 5 – 7 minutes.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse the basil, garlic, nuts, salt & pepper until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour in 8 tablespoons of olive oil and process until smooth and the oil is fully incorporated. Add cheese and pulse just a couple of times to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To serve with the gnocchi, make sure to reserve some pasta water and also keep your olive oil nearby in case your sauce is too thick. Add a small amount of pasta water to a bowl, add in your pesto and toss with your cooked gnocchi (or other pasta). Serve your pesto gnocchi immediately.
To store: If refrigerating, place in an airtight container (such as a mason jar), cover with a thin layer of olive oil, and seal the container. Pesto, especially basil pesto, darkens when exposed to air. Use within 2 weeks and replace oil each time before resealing.