My husband's take on the traditional pesto is not only easy on the wallet, it's easy in every other way as well. If you'd like to dress it up a bit, add sauteed mushrooms and/or cubed tofu (or whatever protein you prefer) as we do.
If you're really looking to impress, make sure you try the sun-dried tomato variation. Heck, try it even if you aren't trying to impress. I promise you'll love it.
David's Poor Man's Pesto
½ cup olive oil
2 cups (half of a large bunch) fresh parsley, stems removed
1 teaspoon dried basil
5 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 pound pasta, cooked (reserve a few tablespoons of water)
Toss all of the ingredients (except the pasta, of course) into a blender or food processor and pulse until fully combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Toss with cooked pasta.
If it seems dry, stir in a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water until it reaches your desired consistency.
Serve topped with more Parmesan and whatever other toppings (sauteed mushrooms, fried/cubed tofu, etc.) you prefer.
Sun-dried tomato variation: Reduce fresh parsley to one cup and replace with about 30 sun-dried tomatoes that have been reconstituted in hot water for about 20 minutes (use the freeze-dried variety, not the ones packed in oil). Continue as above, using the same ingredients and following the same instructions.