House of Cheese Recipe: Manchego & Marcona Almond Pesto

Photo credit: Jason Varney

We’re celebrating Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese by Tenaya Darlington this March by featuring one of our favorite seasonal recipes.

With a dose of springy greens and plenty of pairing options, you’ll be tempted to spread this bright and fresh pesto on just about everything.

A perfect way to start the day is to layer this Manchego & Marcona Almond Pesto on your favorite breakfast toast with a soft-boiled egg.

Manchego and Marcona Almond Pesto

Manchego is by far Spain’s most popular cheese, not only in terms of local consumption, but also in export numbers. It’s deserving of the acclaim. Made from the milk of sheep that feed on acorns, wild grasses and herbs, the resulting flavor is of toasted almonds and olives. Despite being aged for six months, it’s relatively moist, thanks in part to weekly olive oil baths throughout the aging process. There are two classic pairings for Manchego:  being Membrillo (a quince paste) and Marcona Almonds, or you’d would be wise to pair it up with Rioja or Malbec.

“In this Spanish twist, the two come together with peppery arugula and lemon zest to make a bright-tasting pesto that is perfect for linguine with shrimp, baked fish, or roasted cherry tomatoes and olives tossed with penne.” – House of Cheese

Makes ¼ Cups

What You Need (And How Much):

  • 3 ounces arugula (about 2 cups, packed)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup roasted Marcona almonds
  • ¼ pound Manchego, grated (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

How It’s Made:

Place everything but the olive oil in a food processor or blender and combine until roughly chopped.  Then, with the blade running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is well combined.  For a rough pesto, use a mortar and pestle.

Note: Marcona almonds are available at many grocery and specialty food stores.  If you can’t find them, substitute toasted almonds, preferably skinless.

We’d love to hear what you are eating with this pesto – whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or dare we say – dessert?!  If you love this recipe, be sure to check out House of Cheese for more incredible cheese knowledge and perfect pairings.

Darlington, Tenaya. (2013) House of Cheese. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press.