Note: Blanching the basil (step 1) is completely optional, but ensures the pesto stays green rather than turning black when stored.
Yield: Makes about 1 cup
- 2 bunches basil (about 5 cups fresh basil leaves)
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste and salt for blanching water
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or other aged cheese
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt so it tastes salty. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Put the basil leaves in the boiling water. Cook 30 seconds, drain, and immediately put the basil in ice water. Swish the basil leaves around until they’re completely cooled. Drain and, using your hands, squeeze as much water as you can from the basil leaves.
- Put the basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a blender or food processor. Whirl until completely pureed, scraping down the sides as necessary to keep the mixture uniform. Add up to 1/2 cup water to keep the mixture blending and smooth.
- Add the pine nuts and cheese and pulse until chopped and well incorporated. Serve with hot pasta or store, covered and chilled up to one week or frozen up to 6 months.
NOTE: Subsitutue Walnuts for Pine Nuts for a different flavor