Basil Pesto © ejmorris 2000,2001,2002,2005,2006

loosely based on the Frugal Gourmet's recipe
Ingredients Preparation
  1. On the day before you are going to make the pesto: Leaving the leaves on their stems, wash the parsley and basil well. (Hold them upside down in a big basin of water and swirl them around to get rid of sand.) Shake off as much water as you can and then put the basil and parsley into two vases with a little water at the bottom to let the leaves airdry overnight. (Okay, it's true; I don't have a vase large enough for the basil. I use a bucket.)

  2. The next day, remove the parsley and basil leaves from their stems. Measure the basil leaves by jamming them (gently gently so as not to bruise to much!) into the measuring container. Put the leaves into a blender. Add the oil and blend til chopped finely. This will help to ensure that the pesto stays green. Add garlic, salt and pepper and blend again until the garlic is finely chopped. (At this point, you may freeze it in icecube trays or drop a spoonful or two onto a square of plastic wrap. Put the corners together and twist so there is no air. Put the packages into an airtight plastic bag and freeze.)

  3. If you are using pecans or almonds (we prefer pecans), toast the nuts in a frying pan or toaster oven. (The nuts are done just as you start to smell them.) Whir the nuts in a blender. Add the grated cheese and nuts to the basil mixture. Add cream if you want.

    If you're using pinenuts, leave them whole. Toast the pinenuts in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil if you like and perhaps some more garlic. (Of course you can grind them if you want but pinenuts are SO wonderful whole that it seems a shame.) Add the grated cheese and pinenuts to the basil mixture.

Toss with hot spaghettini, or better yet, serve as a garnish for grilled salmon steaks. It is also wonderful on pizza or in a sandwich. The first stage of pesto (without the nuts, etc) is also terrific as a garnish for grilled shrimp OR used as part of a simple vinaigrette for dressing a green salad.

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