1/2 cup of the best quality mild extra virgin olive oil you can afford.
1 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 garlic gloves, minced
4 cups light packed fresh basil torn by hand. (Don’t use a chopper or knife, tear it yourself.)
1/4 cup chopped toasted piñon nuts. You can toast your own or buy them. I bought a bag at Trader Joes and had plenty.
1/2 – 1 cup best quality grated parmesan cheese you can afford. To taste. I use 3/4 of a cup.
Put olive oil, lemon juice and minced garlic in a blender. Then add the basil and give it short bursts of pulse on a higher setting. You want short bursts as you don’t want to heat up the oil or emulsify it. As you pulse, you’ll notice the column of basil start to shrink down as it is pulled into the blades. After all of the basil is processed, add the pine nuts and pulse again. Then add the cheese a quarter of a cup at a time to taste. Anything from a half cup to a full cup. I used three quarters and it was plenty cheesy.
Once you are done transfer it into small containers. Ziploc small ones are good. Fill them maybe half full, then using the back of a spoon gently tap down and smooth out the top. Then poor a very thin layer of your best olive oil on top to seal the top. This will prevent the basil from being exposed to air and discoloring.
You can keep it in the refrigerator up to two to three weeks but it freezes beautifully. I put it in small containers and then freeze it so I don’t have to worry about it going bad before the three weeks are up. When I need some, I just get a container out and let it thaw in the refrigerator for a bit, then I’m good for a few weeks.
Don’t know what to do with pesto? How about deviled eggs?
Hardboil some eggs, cut them in half pole to pole, remove the yolks and mash the yolks. Then add some pesto to taste and stir. A little to a lot, depending on how much you like pesto. Then add some mayonaisse until it is the right consistency. Refill the eggs and you are good to go. This is one of my go to pot luck dishes. People are a bit put off by the green color but once they taste them, they go real fast.
You can also mix pesto with some more olive oil or the water you boiled the pasta in to make it runnier, then mix it with pasta instead of using tomato sauce. A nice change from pasta a olio or using red sauce. I also have used it for lasagne instead of tomato sauce. I’ve made spinach and ricotta pinwheels with the lasagne noodles. Then mixed pesto with cream and poured it over, then top with shredded mozzarella and bake. Nice.