Classic basil pesto is delicious and versatile. Toss with pasta, use with chicken or fish, thin with milk to make a sauce, or spread on a sandwich. If you don’t like pine nuts, try walnuts instead or a combination of the two. When buying pine nuts look for American, Italian or Spanish pine nuts to avoid a possible metallic taste which can happen with cheap imports. A note on herbs, to vary the flavor you can also mix in fresh oregano and parsley or try it with other green herbs like cilantro.
2large garlic clovespeeled
8ouncesfresh basil leaves, thick stems discardedabout 4 cups of tightly packed leaves, washed and stemmed
3-4tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
1/2cupgrated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4cuptoasted pine nutsor walnuts if you don’t like pine nuts, American or Italian
In a food processor fitted with a steel chopping blade, drop the peeled garlic cloves through the feed tube while its running to mince the garlic. Alternatively use a garlic press for finely minced garlic. Add basil leaves, oil, cheese, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the food processor and process until fairly smooth. You can control the texture by how long you pulse. If it’s too thick for your tastes, thin with a little water, more olive oil, or a combination of the two. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if you desire.
Using a flexible spatula scrape your fresh pesto into a container with a tightly fitting lid. It will last for about a week in the refrigerator.
Recipe from Chef Sally Cameron of AFoodCentricLife.com