Sorry, every time I hear the word pesto, I think of the Friends episode with Phoebe flirting with Monica’s Sous Chef with cooking puns.
This pesto really is good. Homemade pesto is simple to make, and so versatile. Use it as a pasta sauce, slather it on chicken, spread it on a sandwich. Mmm! Fresh basil is in season here in Southern California, and our farmer’s market had mountains of it for sale. A big bunch was more than enough to make a large container of pesto. We had it over baked chicken tenders with a side salad for a lovely summer dinner.
Make sure to toast the pine nuts or walnuts to bring out a richer nutty flavor. Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator, with a little extra olive oil drizzled over the top to keep it a nice bright green color. Or it can be frozen in ice cube trays, and kept in an airtight bag in the freezer. This way, you can have homemade pesto long after the summer months are over.
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
4 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
Coarse salt & fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pine nuts or walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in the oven until golden brown and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely.
In a food processor or blender, combine the toasted nuts, basil leaves, Parmesan, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Makes 1 1/4 cups.