Makes 1 Cup
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed, washed, dried, and stemmed
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
¼ cup coarsely grated Parmesan or Grana Padana
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Turn on food processor and drop garlic into work bowl. Process until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the basil and process until smooth.
- Add pine nuts and cheese; process until smooth.
- Drizzle olive oil in slowly, with pulse on continuously. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Scrape the pesto into a container, cover and refrigerate or freeze until needed.
Note: If you choose to freeze the pesto, omit the nuts and cheese and add them right before using. Freeze in ice cube trays so you will have the perfect serving size for each recipe.
Pesto is perfect tossed with hot pasta, stuffed into pork tenderloin or spiedini, or in sausage pies. You can vary the consistency by adding more olive oil or basil, depending on the usage. Pesto is so versatile. It can be tossed with pasta, stuffed into omelets or other meat rolls, or as a spead on bruschetta. One of our former chefs, Paul Stevens, makes a variation of this called Chimichurri, that he uses as a summer sauce for grilled meats and other savory dishes. He omits the Parmesan and pine nuts, adds ¼ cup red wine vinegar, and uses parsley instead of basil.