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Foolproof Basil Pesto

(Makes appx 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 cups basil leaves, clean and dry
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher Salt

Use a blender or immersion blender and tall receptacle for this recipe. A food processor creates too much surface area, which exposes basil to air, and turns pesto brown.

Toast pine nuts by placing pine nuts in a large skillet over medium heat. When pine nuts become fragrant, remove skillet from burner and gently shake to expose the raw sides of the nuts to the hot surface of the skillet. Place skillet back on burner for appx. 15-20 seconds, allowing raw sides of the pine nuts to brown. Remove skillet from burner and gently shake skillet again. Repeat process one more time, taking care not to let pine nuts burn. Let pine nuts cool while proceeding with recipe.

Add oil to blender (or tall receptacle if using immersion blender). Add garlic and 1/3 of your basil leaves, submerging basil leaves entirely in the oil. Blend until basil is mostly pulverized, with small bits visible. Add the second 1/3 of basil leaves, submerging leaves entirely, and repeat. Repeat with final 1/3 of basil leaves. Add toasted pine nuts to blender and blend until they are incorporated into oil/basil mixture, about 10 seconds.

Stir in cheese and Kosher salt. Store in a small container, with plastic wrap covering the exposed area of the pesto. Pesto is best consumed within 3-4 days, or can be frozen.

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