Fresh basil has amazing health benefits – and it grows very easily both in the garden, or a pot. For this recipe I used 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves and it made a jam jar-size worth of pesto. It can easily be doubled, though, and frozen in an ice cube tray for later – pesto keeps in the freezer up to a year.
If you make the quantity below, it will fit in a small food processor – if you double it, use the full-size version.
2 cups gently packed fresh basil leaves
2-4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until coarsely chopped, about 10 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper and process until mixture resembles a paste, about 1 minute. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly blended. Add the Parmesan and process a minute more.
Use pesto immediately or store in a tightly sealed jar or air-tight plastic container, covered with a thin layer of olive oil (this seals out the air and prevents the pesto from oxidizing, which would turn it an ugly brown color). It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. (If you’re planning on freezing it, omit the cheese and stir it in once you defrost it.)
Recipe adapted from onceuponachef.com