I’ve been harvesting opal and green basil from the garden, so it’s pesto season. Here’s what I use to make pesto and how I make it in my Cuisinart Food Processor. You can make it in a blender, but will probably need to add more oil to get it to purée.
8 cups basil, loosely packed
½ bunch parsley
4 cloves garlic
¼ cup pine nuts
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
5 oz. whole parmesan, romano or asiago cheese (not grated)
1. Pick basil and parsley leaves from stems, rinse in cold water to clean and place in a colander to drain.
2. Place the basil and parsley into the Cuisinart, filling to the top.
3. Place pine nuts in a skillet, turn heat to medium and toast pine nuts in the pan, shaking pan to keep the pine nuts evenly toasted. Cook about 3 or 4 minutes until the pine nuts are browned. You don’t need to add any oil to the pan, just add the pine nuts.
4. Cut the hard cheese into ¼ inch cubes.
5. Peel the garlic. Place the cheese, whole garlic cloves and pine nuts on top of the basil in the food processor. Add the salt, pepper. I like to add these to the top so it adds weight to the basil and helps it purée easier.
6. Place the lid on the processor, and while pulsing, slowly add the oil through the tube at the top.
6. Continue to pulse for about a minute. Open the lid and scrape the sides with a spatula.
7. Replace the lid and continue to blend the pesto until basil, parsley, garlic, and cheese are finely minced into a paste.
Store in the refrigerator, and seal tightly. Pesto will keep for about 5 days. You can also freeze the pesto to use later.