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updated: 7/12/2012 10:27 AM

Classic Basil Pesto

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  • Fresh basil makes fragrant pesto which in turn makes wonderful pizzas.

    Fresh basil makes fragrant pesto which in turn makes wonderful pizzas.
    Alicia Ross/Kitchen Scoop


2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

2-3 large garlic cloves

cup pine nuts

cup best-quality grated parmesan cheese

cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste, divided

Dash of salt, to taste

Rinse basil well. Remove stems and place leaves in a salad spinner. Dry well, and set aside. (Alternately, dry the leaves with paper towels.) Peel garlic cloves and drop through the feed tube of a food processor (or blender) onto a moving blade to finely chop.

Add basil leaves and pine nuts to processor bowl, and pulse motor just until coarsely chopped. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add cheese to bowl. With motor running, slowly pour cup oil through processor feed tube and process until oil is incorporated and pesto has consistency of cooked oatmeal. Scrape down sides of bowl. Taste pesto and season with salt to taste. Add more oil (as before) until desired consistency is reached.

Scrape pesto into a freezer-safe plastic storage container. Drizzle remaining teaspoon of oil on top and swirl to coat. (Use a bit more if necessary, depending on the size and shape of your container.)

Pesto can be refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen up to 6 months. The top of the pesto will turn dark when stored. This is OK. Stir well before using. (To thaw, let container stand at room temperature about 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.)

Makes about 1 cup.

Nutrition values per tablespoon: 90 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated), 1 g carbohydrates, trace amount g fiber, 1.5 g protein, 1.5 mg cholesterol, 54 mg sodium.

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