After being away on the East Coast on an unexpectedly extended trip, I returned home to a flourishing out-of-control basil plant. What does one do with an abundance of basil? Make pesto, of course!
The timing was perfect because I visited E in Golden on Saturday and her garden is full of fragrant, ripe tomatoes. She generously sent me home with a few (as well as more basil) and I enjoyed a delicious late lunch of tomatoes and fresh basil pesto. You can use pesto as a sauce for pasta or with sautéed vegetables, but I do enjoy it in it simplest form alongside vine-ripened, home-grown tomatoes. Mom, I saw your basil plants today... this recipe is for you!
Yield = approximately 1 cup
3 cups basil leaves, rinsed
1/4 cup pine nuts, roasted
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly-ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Using a food processor or blender, process basil, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper until almost smooth. Slowly stream in olive oil (using either a food processor or blender, this can be done by streaming it while the lid is still on). Stir in parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as required.
To prevent discoloration when storing pesto, it is best to put a thin layer of olive oil over the pesto and then cover it.