⅓ cup raw pine nuts ( for variation almonds, walnuts, pecans or pepitas)
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (about 3 ounces or 2 large bunches)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Toasting of nuts or seeds is recommended but not necessary for extra flavor. In a medium skillet, toast the nuts/seeds over medium heat, stirring frequently (don’t let them burn!), until nice and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour them into a bowl to cool for a few minutes. To make the pesto, combine the basil, cooled nuts/seeds, Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue processing until the mixture is well blended but still has some texture, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste, and adjust if necessary. Add a pinch of salt if the basil tastes too bitter or the pesto needs more zing. Add more Parmesan if you’d like a creamier/cheesier pesto. If desired, you can thin out the pesto with more olive oil. Store leftover pesto in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week. You can also freeze pesto – One of the recommended way is in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag, then you can thaw only as much as you need later.