A splash of pesto jazzes up a spring time plate

With the warmer weather here and an abundance of fresh herbs cropping up in the produce section, I wanted to take advantage of all the fresh greens and whip up a light and easy pesto. Pesto is one of those spectacularly simple sauces as it only takes 10 minutes to really make it. Essentially, you just have to throw basil, oil and garlic into a blender and ta-dah — pesto!

Now that the weather is starting to get warmer (if you disregard the hail storm that occurred the day before Mother’s Day) and the sun is lingering outside longer, it felt right to make a lovely pesto pasta for my family. Frankly, we’ve grown rather tired of eating our standard tomato sauce with pasta and even my carb-loving soul is getting rather tired of noodles.

What’s great about pesto is that it can be used for more than a plate of noodles. It can be baked on chicken, mixed into soup, added to bruschetta, mixed it in a skillet with eggs and hashbrowns, or even added to a quesadilla. Personally, I love adding a dollop of mayonnaise to a few tablespoons of pesto to create a quick and easy aioli to slather on my sandwiches. It’s great for transforming blah leftovers into something quick and delightful that you might pick up at a cafe. You can take the pesto aioli and pair it with a leftover chicken cutlet, tomato slices and a crusty slice of baguette to create a sandwich to dream about.

Spring Pesto

Makes 16 oz. of sauce

10 oz. fresh basil leaves

4 oz. fresh mint

1 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend half of the basil with the pine nuts and garlic in a blender or food processor. Scrape the sides down and add the mint and remaining basil with the cheese and salt before blending again. Add 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil to the mix and blend again. Once fully mixed, place the pesto in the jar, filling it almost to the top before pouring the remaining olive oil on top of the pesto to keep it from drying out.