2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Put the basil in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the basil and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the basil into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.
- Squeeze the water out of the basil with your hands until very dry.
- Roughly chop the basil and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, and pine nuts.
- Blend for at least 30 seconds. In this way the green of the basil will thoroughly color the oil. Add the cheese and pulse to combine.
- The pesto will keep several days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Serves warm with pasta. Thin the pesto with some of the hot pasta water before tossing it with pasta, if desired.
Makes about 3/4 cup, enough for 1 pound pasta.