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Every year I plant a few herbs in pots on the patio. Basil is one of those herbs, along with mint, thyme and rosemary. Every year around this time my basil is as tall as me. Ok, that’s not really that tall (I’m 5′ 0″), but that’s pretty tall if you’re a basil plant. So the question of what to do with all that basil always comes up. The answer is usually pesto. It’s easy, fast and extremely versatile.

ImageIn addition to being great on pasta, there are hundreds of ways to use pesto. It’s great on a crostini and topped with a little goat cheese, in addition to or instead of traditional pizza sauce, brushed over some grilled corn-on-the-cob, inside a grilled cheese or just spooned over some grilled seafood. The possibilities are endless.

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Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the basil in with the nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse a few more times until garlic is chopped. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Use immediately or pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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