Ingredients (serves 2 people, or 1 very hungry person):
- 2 bunches of basil (about 3 1/2 cups of packed basil)
- 3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup of walnuts
- 2-3 medium/small cloves of garlic
- 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste (a couple of shakes will do)
Look at all that fresh summer basil!
1) Thoroughly wash the basil and remove the leaves from the stalks. Discard the stalks and dry the basil off before you add it to the food processor.
2) After you add all the basil to the food processor, add the peeled garlic cloves. It's a good idea to chop the garlic cloves up just a bit so that they are distributed more evenly throughout the pesto in the food processor.
3) Add the 1/2 cup of walnuts, 3/4 cup of cheese and 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4) Pulse the basil mixture in the food processor until it is finely chopped and well mixed (but not pureed). Add more cheese or olive oil accordingly.
5) Stir well and serve immediately on pasta or sandwiches.
A few things to keep in mind: 1) I like to cook on the fly, meaning I don't really measure everything out to the exact amount because that's boring and I cook a lot from memory (and use basic intuition - ie: that garlic clove that's practically the size of your fist...yeah, that does not qualify as "one large clove"). So this recipe is a guideline; a pretty accurate guideline, but a guideline nonetheless. 2) Make this according to your taste. For instance, if you like a lot of garlic, then go ahead and add more to this recipe. If you like pesto with pine nuts, then substitute them for walnuts, or use a mixture of the two. 3) I don't like an oily pesto--at the end of the meal, I feel like my face is covered in olive oil and I need a shower. So when you serve this pesto over pasta, you might want to add a little more olive oil when you mix it and if you want to stretch the pesto a little more. Remember: you can always add more olive oil, but you can't take it out. 4) Can you use the parmesan dust in a can for pesto? In a pinch, yes. But we'd all prefer you buy a fresh hunk of cheese and grate it because it will taste better!