Of course it is wonderful on pasta. Cut with a splash of mild vinegar, it makes a great salad dressing. Or use it as a sandwich spread. Pesto is also a wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
2/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts, toasted lightly
6 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (almost a blenderful)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (if using immediately)
Blanch the basil briefly (to preserve its color and flavor.) First prepare an ice-bath either in the sink or in a large mixing bowl. Bring about a quart of water to boil, add about a tablespoon of salt. It should taste like sea water. Submerge the basil leaves and immediately remove and drain then plunge into the ice bath. Pat leaves dry.
In a food processor or blender, combine toasted nuts, basil leaves and garlic until well-combined. While machine is running, pour in olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, stir in grated cheese. If freezing, spoon into an ice-cube tray for individual portions, or larger containers such as yogurt containers. To defrost, allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and stir in cheese.