Because basil is in season and because everyone else is talking about it and doing it, I’m gonna share my pesto recipe with ya’ll. Just to put it out there.
I didn’t get this recipe from any old cookbook; I got it from a real chef from the highest-end restaurant in town. (Or is it highest-endest? Or highest-endedest?) Granted, he didn’t actually give me the recipe, but... See, a couple summers ago I had taken the kids to the children’s museum and they were having a special cooking presentation from a real chef from the above-mentioned establishment, and he just happened to be making pesto. So I watched closely, scrutinizing his every move. This is what I came away with.
4-5 cups basil leaves, packed
2-3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
½ - 3/4 cup olive oil
Put all the ingredients but the olive oil in a food processor and pulverize till it turns into a green paste. Then, while it’s still processing, gradually pour in the olive oil through the feed tube. Stop once or twice to scrap down the sides with a rubber spatula. Put the pesto in small containers to freeze, or eat right away.
For a pound of pasta, reserve about a half cup of the pasta's cooking liquid and mix it with about a half cup of pesto (or more, depending on your tastes). Or, if you like it strong, don’t bother to dilute the pesto with the cooking liquid at all and use about a cup of pesto.
Several other suggestions for serving pesto:
*add to macaroni and cheese
*add to Alfredo sauce (in this recipe I just used cubes of frozen basil, but pesto would work just fine, too)
*spread in sandwiches with roasted tomatoes and sharp cheese
*spread it on pizza crust in place of the tomato sauce and top with grated cheese and tomatoes (fresh, roasted, and dried all work well)
*after mixing it into a pot of drained, hot pasta, add a half-cup of cream