When world known chefs and TV personalities say something like ‘I get my inspirations from the ingredients in season’ it often sounds like a cliché, but ironically this recipe is exactly about making the most of what is fresh and locally produced. The macadamia is a relatively recent cash crop in Kenya and therefore choosing it over the imported alternatives supports locals farmers. But whatever its origins the rich, oily texture of the macadamia nuts gives extra creaminess and a delicious nutty flavor to the pesto sauce. I use it not only for my pasta dishes, but I also like to add a spoonful of pesto to sautéed chicken breast at the end of the cooking time to add an extra layer of flavor and to create a quick sauce for the chicken. Served with salad it makes a quick and delicious weeknight meat.
1 cup of basic leaves, packed
1/4 cup of Macadamia nuts
8 Tbs of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Place the basil, macadamia, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine the ingredients. Then, run the processor on low speed and slowly add the oil through the feeding tube. Blend until you get a smooth paste.
Add the lemon juice and the parmesan (if using) and pulse a few more time until well combined. Most recipe call for the parmesan to be added to the rest of the ingredients and blended together, however I like to add it over the pesto sauce just before serving or omit it all together if opting for a low calorie meal.