Freshness is vital to basil's alluring flavor. Fresh basil is commonly available in supermarkets, but avoid plants with black or wilted leaves. If you grow your own, pick it the morning of the day you intend to use it, and place cut stems into a glass of water.
Pesto's simplicity is sublime Â– a perfect sauce of raw basil, pinenuts, extra-virgin olive oil, and grated cheese. Enjoy pesto tossed with fettuccine, spread on bread, or put atop a fresh-vegetable soup.
- 2 large handfuls basil leaves about 3 cups
- 3 tablespoons Parmesano-Reggiano
- 1-2 tablespoons pinenuts
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pulse basil leaves, cheese, pinenuts, and garlic cloves in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, pour in olive oil in a thin, steady stream, blending until the mixture is well combined and emulsified. Pair pesto with a long, thin pasta such as fettuccine or spaghetti.