Recipe: Basil Pesto

Basil pesto…you see it in little glass jars at the grocery store, swirled into pasta at restaurants, and spread on sandwiches at lunch joints. It’s a very simple mixture that can be whipped up in minutes using a food processor. It’s so easy, in fact, you really should just make it yourself! Raw garlic, which has a spicy quality, and toasted pine nuts add a punch of flavor to the mix of fresh basil and parsley, while the olive oil and cheese help pull the mixture together into a delicious sauce and spread. Perfect in pasta, blended into butter or mayonnaise as a spread, spread on bread or a sandwich, or added to grilled chicken or fish—basil pesto is something everyone should know how to make.

Yields: Approx. 1/2 cup
Prep. time: 5 minutes
Assembly time (no cooking required): 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Special equipment: Food processor

Ingredients

  • Approx. 2-4 oz. fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted (toast in oven for 2 minutes at 350*F)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Add all of the ingredients to the food processor and pulse to thoroughly blend. Use the mixture as a sauce or spread. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 
This sauce is packed with flavor: “spicy” garlic, fresh basil and parsley, nutty and salty Italian cheeses, and toasted pine nuts all create a strong flavor that works well in all sorts of dishes. 
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