Summery Basil Pesto

Summery Basil Pesto
Last night I slipped outside after dinner, enticed into our backyard by the sonorous sounds of crickets and the twilight sky. In a corner formed by an irregular stone wall, basil plants grow in large clumps thrusting up from their orangey red clay pot buried almost to its lip in the ground. The plants’ perfectly green, cupped leaves fold along each vein like rippled sand at the bottom of a clear running stream, just begging to be picked and swirled in the cuisinart with pungent garlic, a wedge of parmesan, pine nuts, and long drizzles of olive oil to make that most glorious of concoctions, pesto.

This summer, let’s slather fresh pesto on crusty bread, spoon it over soft ripe cheese, stir it into steaming bowls of pasta, and enjoy every bite.

Summery Basil Pesto Recipe

     Two cups of fresh basil leaves

     A three-ounce wedge of Parmesan cheese, chopped, or a one-half cup of freshly grated Parmesan (it’s worth the grating, trust me)

     One-half cup of pine nuts

     Four garlic cloves, skinned

     One cup of a mild, fruity olive oil like this one. (Keep it between us, they don’t know I’m a fan)

Put the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, and garlic in your food processor and pulse until everything is roughly chopped. Turn the food processor on low and drizzle in the olive oil. As you drizzle, the pesto will emulsify, blending the flavors together. Pesto can have a hand-chopped texture or be smooth and silky, though I like something in between. Sprinkle in a little Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Enjoy immediately or spoon into small glass jars to keep in the freezer until you need a little bite of summer.



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