Basil Almond Gluten Free Pesto Sauce

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My father is visiting us and he’s 100% Italian. I just had to make him some of my famous gluten free pesto sauce! The most delicious pesto sauce I have ever made contained blanched, slivered almonds instead of pine nuts. Since I had about 2 tablespoons of pine nuts left, I used them up by substituting them for 2 tablespoons of almonds. Dad loved it, even went back for seconds! Perhaps not the healthiest meal for someone in their 90s, but hey, he’s on vacation, and the garlic is extremely healthy! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

UPDATE: I’ve since made this recipe using all almonds and it was just as delicious, if not more!

Basil Almond Gluten Free Pesto

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Yield: Depends upon the amount of sauce used

Basil Almond Gluten Free Pesto

A wonderful basil gluten free pesto sauce with a twist. Use blanched almonds instead of pine nuts. The taste is incredible!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves (about 6 cups) or 1/2 tube basil paste (found in your grocer's produce isle)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup slivered blanched (no skin) almonds
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed, minced or grated
  • Fresh ground pepper. to taste
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano and Parmesan cheese (Kraft is gluten-free)

Instructions:

  1. If using this pesto sauce for pasta, boil water in a medium sized pan with a splash of extra virgin olive oil for your pasta of choice. I like pesto with angel hair pasta. You will find that Jovial brand makes a gluten-free angel hair pasta, named in Italian (Capellini).
  2. In a food processor, add nuts, basil, garlic, pepper and seasonings; blend until nuts are well chopped.
  3. Add olive oil a little bit at the time.
  4. Add pasta to pan and cook for about 6 minutes or until it reaches your desired texture, drain, reserving 1/4 to 1/2 cup pasta water.
  5. Mix about 1/2 cup of pesto sauce with the pasta and add a splash of pasta water. Toss gently.
  6. Serve and top with grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheese. (My fave is fresh Parmasiano-Reggiano cheese)

Tips

Five ounces of uncooked pasta feeds about 2 people.

You can use all Romano or all Parmesan cheese if you like.

If the pesto sauce clumps and does not mix well with the pasta (especially gluten-free pasta), add a little more olive oil when mixing.

Use a mixture of pine nuts and slivered almonds, all almonds, or all pine nuts, but almonds are my favorite!

Since not all garlic cloves are equal, I try to average them out to medium sized ones. I ended up using 2 large 1 medium and one small, which would equal about 5 medium sized ones.

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