Recipe: Homemade Basil Pesto
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In the summertime at the farmers market, you can often find big bunches of fresh basil for not a whole lot of money, and to me, that means it's time to make a big batch of homemade basil pesto. The name "pesto" comes from the traditional method of using a mortar and pestle to mash the basil, but I use a food processor instead. I also use toasted walnuts in place of the more traditional pine nuts.
4 cups of basil leaves
2 medium cloves of garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Another splash of extra virgin olive oil
Rinse the basil in cold water to remove any sand or grit from the leaves and then drain them really well. You can change the water and rinse the basil more than once if it needs it.
Once the four firmly packed cups of basil leaves have drained really well, remove the leaves from the stems, making sure no flowering buds are added to the pesto as well.
Add about half of the basil to the food processor with the peeled garlic cloves and 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil. Puree that to break it down a bit.
At that point, add the rest of the basil leaves, the toasted walnuts and grated parmesan cheese and continue to puree it until it is nice and smooth.
If it seems a little bit on the thick side, add another splash of olive oil and puree it until you're happy with the consistency.
Store it in a lidded, airtight container in the fridge, with a layer of olive oil on top to help keep it from oxidizing.