One of my favorite things about Spring is going to the Farmers Market in Union Square and picking out fresh produce and herbs. That said, Spring apparently will never come this year, so I ordered some basil from FreshDirect. It was the BIGGEST bunch of basil I have ever seen. "What the *&% am I supposed to do with all of this??", I asked myself. Well when life hands you basil, you make pesto. A lot of pesto.
2 cups fresh basil, packed
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2-3 medium garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic, I used 3)
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Wash basil leaves thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Peel garlic and chop in half. Throw walnuts into the blender first and pulse a few times. Add in garlic and basil leaves. Pulse on high until everything is relatively uniform in size (should be very small pieces).
Set the bender to low and slowly stream in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides and add in the cheese. Blend once more on low for a few seconds until everything is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
And there you have it: pesto in a jiffy. This doesn't yield a ton of pesto (I didn't measure but it was about a cup) but since I had so much basil I made two batches and froze the other one. Skinny Pig Note: if you plan on freezing the pesto, omit the cheese until ready to use. It doesn't freeze well and can get mushy.
Pesto can be used in a multitude of ways besides just a sauce for pasta. For example, I put a dollop on top of my turkey burger. Mmmm..