Pesto is my favorite way to use fresh basil. Because it can be made in a matter of minutes there is no reason to buy it pre-made. Simply puree all of the ingredients together in a food processor and you have a sauce that can dress up pasta or be served as a spread on a sandwich or as a marinade for chicken, pork, or fish. The quantities are only recommendations and you can adjust them to match your preferences. You can add more or less garlic depending on what you like and walnuts can be substituted for the more pricy pine nuts if you prefer. If the sauce it too thick for your liking add additional olive oil to the mixture.
This pesto can be used immediately or stored in a sterile container in the refrigerator for up to one month. Whenever fresh basil is available I like to have a batch of pesto sitting in the refrigerator ready to use. It can turn a boring box of pasta into a colorful and flavorful dinner in no time.
4 cups fresh basil leaves
8 cloves garlic
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
- Place the pine nuts in a small saute pan. Stirring constantly, heat over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes until toasted. Set aside to cool.
- Place the basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the leaves are finely minced.
- Add the garlic cloves and pine nuts and continue to pulse until all of the ingredients are uniform in size and the mixture resembles a thick paste.
- With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and pulse to combine.
- Transfer the basil mixture into a medium-sized bowl. Add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 2 cups