There is always cilantro in the house now that we live in Texas. It’s mostly used for tacos or on the occasional vegetarian dish chopped up to enhance flavor to a dish. With an Italian heritage, it’s hard to imagine a pesto without basil. After trying this dish that I found on the food blog Blue Kitchen, I have to admit my pro-Basil pesto stance has changed forever.
Making pesto is easy and making it fresh is far more flavorful than buying a ready-made store bought pesto that has half the flavor richness of a just-made pesto. I used walnuts for this version (you can use pecans or pinenuts.) There is no Parmesan cheese in this pesto so it’s also quite affordable to make.
For the tomatoes in the recipe, I went with some Sweet 100s; though, any grape tomato will work fine. I’ve become a big fan of the Sweet 100s since we started seeing these “tiny grape tomatoes” at the market. They are sweet, hence the name, and add a nice flavor to this dish.
Whole Foods is carrying more local products and for the feta cheese I opted for the local choice. The one I bought here in Dallas is from Brazos Valley. Brazos Valley is in the central region of Texas. I did some Googling and found out more about this local cheese maker. You can learn more on their website.
The cheese is a bit mild so if you like a stronger flavored Feta I’d recommend a Greek feta for this dish.
You can use any pasta that you like and I had every intent of making fresh linguine for this dish but forgot I ran out of eggs. The dried penne noodles worked better than I thought and are a good substitution.
Note: I only used half of the pesto in the recipe below. The other half I froze to use another time.