If you're looking for different pesto recipes, this sage pesto is a nice alternative to the traditional basil during the fall and winter months.
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Sage is one of my favorite herbs and I'm always looking for more ways to use it. And in the winter I miss fresh pesto. So let's put those two ideas together and make a sage pesto that you're going to want to put on pasta—and everything else, too!
This is a great way to use up leftover sage from holiday recipes, or just make it because it's a wonderful way to enjoy a different kind of pesto when basil is not in season.
I adapted this from Elizabeth Minchilli's book, The Italian Table, which is full of authentic seasonal recipes from all over Italy.
- Fresh sage: Choose sage that is a beautiful green color. If any of the leaves are brown at the edges, just trim that off and use the good part.
- Olive oil: A bright, fruity olive oil works well with the strong flavor of the sage
- Parmesan cheese: Please use the real parmigiano reggiano and grate it yourself for the best flavor and texture.
- Chopped walnuts: I'm changing up the vibe here and using walnuts to complement the wintery flavor of the sage.
- Garlic and kosher salt: We'll grate the garlic so it permeates the pesto and so you don't get big chunks of garlic in a bite.
Add the sage leaves and walnuts to a food processor. Use a microplane grater to grate the garlic and add to the sage and nuts.
Pulse until the leaves are roughly chopped, then with the motor running, pour in the olive oil and process until smooth.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the cheese and salt. Stir to combine and check the consistency. If it's too thick and pasty, add some more olive oil.
Use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container, cover with a layer of olive oil and store in the fridge.
You could easilyy use grana padano, or pecorino romano which is made with goat's milk.
Walnuts, almonds or the classic pine nuts are all good choices.
Aside from the classic basil pesto, you could try making sun dried tomato pesto. There are even pestos made with citrus or one made with lard that comes from Modena!
I find that sage tends to last a long time. So typically, you could put pesto in an airtight container in the fridge, cover with a thin layer of olive oil, and keep for about a week. But the sage might last even longer than that.
- Make pesto pasta, but swap the traditional pesto for this sage version.
- Serve with roast chicken or drizzle over crispy roasted potatoes.
Use it on pasta, of course, but also serve along side roasted vegetables or with roast meats like pork and lamb.
- Basil Pesto is the classic.
- Still craving more sage? Try this Winter Squash Gratin.
- 2 cups sage leaves
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup olive oil see note
- pinch kosher salt
- Add the sage leaves and walnuts to a food processor. Use a microplane grater to grate the garlic and add to the sage and nuts.
- Pulse until the leaves are roughly chopped, then with the motor running, pour in the olive oil and process until smooth.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the cheese and salt. Stir to combine and check the consistency. If it's too pasty, add some more olive oil.
- You may need a little more or a little less olive oil. Keep an eye on it as you add it. You can always add more if you need to after the cheese is mixed in.
- Store in an airtight container, covered with a layer of olive oil to prevent discoloration. It will keep for a week or more.
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