Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto is traditionally made using a mortar and pestle. Slowly pounding the basil leaves is the secret to releasing the herbs full flavor. Since most people don’t own a mortar and pestle, pounding the basil leaves in a ziplock bag is the best way to achieve a truly flavorful pesto. Pesto is often tossed with pasta or used as a marinade for chicken. Shown here in Basil Pesto Deviled Eggs.

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly, finely grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook pine nuts in a small heavy pan over medium heat until nuts are slightly brown and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

Meanwhile place basil leaves in a heavy duty ziplock bag. Zip the bag almost all the way closed, leaving a small opening to allow air to escape. Pound the leaves with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer or roll several times with a rolling pin until leaves are bruised, about 2 minutes. Place bruised leaves, toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until a rough paste is formed. Then with the motor slowly running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until all of the ingredients are well combined, scrapping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Also freezes well.

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