Make your own pesto
Do you have basil growing like crazy in your garden, or did you buy a bunch of basil at the farmers’ market? Make pesto! Pesto is very versatile – you can mix it with pasta, spread it on pizza or a sandwich, stir it into soups, and so on. The basic recipe is very simple: take about 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, about ¼ cup of pine nuts, 2 cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and process in a food processor until everything is finely chopped. (You can also make it with a mortar and pestle, but it’s a little more work.) Then, while the processor is on, pour in about 1/3 cup of olive oil – depending on your taste, you could add more olive oil or less – until the mixture is smooth. Then transfer to a bowl and stir in about ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. It will stay in the fridge for a day or two, but then will start to brown, so it’s best to use it right away. If you want to use it later, here’s my trick – I put it in small containers and freeze it, without the cheese. When you want to use it, defrost and add the cheese then. In my opinion, pesto freezes best without the cheese. Enjoy!
What if you can't use nuts?
You can also use a mixture of different nuts such as almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and add a touch of lemon juice to keep it green.
For those of you who think pine nuts are too expensive, try walnuts instead. It's hard to tell the difference.