My dad let me thin out his homegrown basil so naturally I had to make pesto sauce with homemade Italian sausage. The pesto recipe is as follows, but you've got to check out my dad's Web site for his Italian sausage recipe.
I use Marcella Hazan's blender pesto recipe, but tweak it depending on what ingredients I'm lacking. After several taste tests, my dad and I have concluded that if you can't afford pine nuts at $30 a pound, subbing shelled pistachios does not drastically alter the flavor the way walnuts do. It's actually quite tasty with pistachios. I can't really tell the difference.
Pesto sauce -- good for about 1.5 lbs. pasta
4-6 cups fresh basil, stems removed
3/4 - 1 cup olive oil (I start with less and add more if necessary)
1/4 cup pine nuts or peeled pistachios
3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a chef's knife
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly graded Pecorino Romano cheese (sub more Parm if you don't have this)
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled to room temp.
With a blender or food processor, blend the olive oil, pine nuts and garlic till combined. Slowly add the basil till well blended. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheeses. When butter is cooled, add to sauce. If a little thick, add more olive oil.
Make the sauce while the pasta is cooking.