Bright green bunches of fresh basil offered at the farmers market remind me of the basil my father always grew in his garden. Twenty years ago, I grew basil for pesto on my terrace high above New York City streets. This summer, it’s planted in my patio pots.
Basil pesto is easy to make and can be spread on fresh crusty bread or spooned on top of pasta or a baked potato.
Here’s a simple, healthy recipe that can be adjusted to your taste. Romano cheese can be substituted for parmesan, and walnuts for pine nuts. If you want to freeze the pesto, omit the cheese and add it later when defrosted. Because pine nuts tend to be pricey, I used a 1/4 cup pine nuts with a 1/4 cup of walnuts and always a good quality, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, imported from Italy.
Basil Pesto (makes 1 cup)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and trimmed of stems
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
4 cloves garlic, peeled or smashed
1/2 cup of pine nuts (substitute walnuts or 1/4 cup of each)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Blend the first four ingredients in a food processor or blender. Slowly add the oil and continue to process, scraping down the sides until it becomes a smooth paste. Store in refrigerator; use within several days.