Serve pesto on the pasta of your choice, use as a dip, or try it over fresh boiled potatoes or drizzled on grilled vegetables.
Note: Blanching the basil (step one) is completely optional, but does make a pesto that stays green rather than turning black when stored.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes about 1 cup
- 2 bunches basil (about 5 cups fresh basil leaves)
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste and salt for blanching water
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan or other aged cheese
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt so it tastes salty. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Put basil leaves in boiling water. Cook 30 seconds and drain. Immediately put basil in ice water. Swish around until completely cooled. Drain and, using your hands, squeeze water from basil leaves.
- Put basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a blender or food processor. Whirl until completely pureed, scraping down sides as necessary to keep mixture uniform. Add up to 1/2 cup water to keep mixture blending and smooth.
- Add pine nuts and cheese and pulse until chopped and well incorporated. Serve with hot pasta or store, covered and chilled up to one week, and frozen up to 6 months.