Thursday, September 17, 2009

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

Ingredients: Makes 1 3/4 cups

1 cup pine nuts

Coarse salt and ground pepper

8 cups (4 ounces) lightly packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

¾ cup (3 ounces) Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until golden and fragrant, tossing once, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil; add basil, and submerge with a spoon. Immediately drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until cool, then pat basil completely dry in paper towels.

In a food processor, combine nuts, basil, and garlic; season generously with salt and pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Use immediately, or freeze. Makes 1 3/4 cups

Cook’s notes: To freeze, spoon pesto into an ice-cube tray (2 tablespoons per cube); cover with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight, then transfer cubes to a resealable plastic bag; keep up to 6 months. Defrost pesto at room temperature, about 20 minutes (or at 30-second intervals in the microwave). Mash with a fork before using in recipes. Pesto will freeze better if you omit the cheese before freezing and stir in once thawed.

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