Perfect Pesto ala Pierce

My aunt and uncle were kind enough to give me a fantastic Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook and this was the first recipe I tried. PESTO!
No matter who you talk to and where you are and how good that special order can of pre-packaged stuff is, NOTHING beats FRESHLY made pesto. 

It always comes out being absolutely delicious and it makes the entire house smell fantastic. 
Food processors are best but you can use a blender if don't have a processor. Fresh grown basil is also best but store bought is also delicious. I used to have a beautiful basil plant on the back patio but after a few nasty thunderstorms and two boston terriers, it called it quits. No worries though, thanks to the local Super H Mart, I snagged a whole bushel of basil for $3.22. WAHOO!
Here's the rest of what you need. 
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice {fresh is obviously better but I didn't feel like running back out to the store}
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups lightly packed Thai basil {you can use a different type of basil if you like}
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
Wash the basil and be sure that there aren't any dead areas. Pat dry.
Roast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat or by placing them spread on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Be sure you let them cool before tossing them into the mix. 
Coarsely chop the garlic. Your food processor will take care of the rest.

Because my food processor is so super tiny, I gave the basil a coarse chop first before adding in the rest of the ingredients. If you have a larger processor you can easily throw it all in together. 

Combine basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper until well incorporated. 

With the processor still running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube until ingredients are nice and smooth. 
Turn the motor off and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add cheese and pulse until mixture looks like a thick paste. 

Depending on how thick you want the pesto you can add more oil at this point. I prefer to keep it thicker and add oil to taste as I use it. 

We had it on pasta and it was DIVINE!

 
We have plenty left and I plan on using it on... basically everything! Omelets, sandwiches, pasta, steak, chicken, pork. {pardon me while I drool all over my computer} Like I said... there is nothing quite like fresh basil to make ANY dish taste better. 
I like these basic ingredients but I have heard of people using parsley over basil. Are you a pesto fiend like me and do you ever mix things up a bit?
I'm going to go make a pesto omelet now... 
Until next time...