The store bought pesto sauces are okay but I find them too oily so I prefer to make them at home and the result is a more flavorful, robust pesto... also I substitute the pine nuts with walnuts since that's what I normally have at home but this is a very versatile sauce so no worries. I used Giada's recipe as a base and made some slight modifications.
Basil Leaves - 1 bunch (roughly 2 cups)
Sun-dried Tomatoes - 4 halves (soaked in hot water for 5-10 minutes, if dry)
Walnuts - 1/4 cup, toasted
Garlic - 2 small cloves
Salt - about 1/2 tsp
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Olive oil - upto 1/3 cup (i use lesser mostly)
Parmesan Cheese - 1/4 cup or more
1. Blend basil leaves, sun dried tomatoes (if using), walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Add some olive oil and blend again till almost smooth. Finally remove and add some parmesan cheese.
I came across a recipe for Pasta, with pesto and green beans on the Epicurious website and found it an interesting combination, so I just added on some more ingredients, gave it a slight spicy touch and the end result was pretty good.
Pasta with Pesto, Mushrooms & Green Beans
Spaghetti (or pasta of your choice) - 6 oz [I used Barilla Plus]
Pesto sauce - 3 to 4 tbsp (or to taste)
Onions - half medium, chopped into big pieces
Roma Tomato - 1/2, chopped
Green Beans - 15 to 20, french cut
Garlic - 1 to 2 cloves, chopped fine
White Mushrooms - 6 to 8 oz, sliced
Red Chilli Flakes - 1 to 2 tsp
Parmesan Cheese - 3 tbsp, grated
Olive Oil - 2 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook Pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside before draining.
2. In the meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and add garlic and onions. Once they soften add the red chilli flakes and mushrooms.
3. Depending on how crunchy you want the beans you can stir-fry them directly or microwave them for a few minutes with 2 tbsp of water before adding.
4. The mushrooms will cook down and lose all their water. Add the beans and salt. Now add the pesto and the cooking liquid.
5. Toss the pasta with this sauce until well blended. Season with pepper to taste and finally add some parmesan cheese. Enjoy!