We are going out for dinner tonight to some vegetarian friends and I didn’t just want to take wine, so was wondering what I could make with whatever I had in the house that only took 30 minutes.
Looking outside on the table, I noticed the three full basil plants we bought at Trader Joes.
“Ahh, pesto sauce”, I thought, “but how could I make it different”?

My husband came into the kitchen while I was throwing stuff into the processor and after I made it, pronounced it “lovely” so that was the seal I needed.

1 whole (full-leaved) Trader Joes basil plant stripped completely and the leaves washed and spun in the salad spinner.
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmegiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 tsp dried red chilli flakes
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp drained capers
1/2 heaped cup pitted kalamata olives
6 sun dried tomatoes (in oil)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 lemon, juice only

(cream added can make it more luxurious!)

Start by putting all the basil into a food processor and turn it on. Through the tube in the top, put the garlic, chilli flakes, olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, capers,sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, lemon juice, olives and anything else you may have forgotten.
Puree for a few minutes, then taste and add more seasoning if it needs it.
Pour into a lovely glass jar with a lid and you have a great pasta sauce, or a base for crunchy, toasted bruschetta, or a base for many seafood dishes. It’s lovely as a dip for grilled shrimp, a coating on a piece of white fish, or even added to a soup as a dollop in the middle of the bowl just as you serve it, as in “pistou”.

There are endless ways to use it and it lasts a long time, including freezes well.
The Trader Joes basil plants are the most economical way to make pesto based sauces if you don’t grow basil. Unforunately we are having a battle with the garden snails and they claimed this year’s basil!