- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pine nuts evenly on a small baking sheet and toast until lightly golden and fragrant, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Let cool.
Place garlic cloves in a small saucepan, cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil then immediately drain and let garlic cool. This mellows the pungent taste of raw garlic (and also helps prevent garlic breath!). Feel free to skip this step if you enjoy raw garlic.
Using a food processor (or blender or mortar & pestle), process garlic, basil, pine nuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until coarsely chopped. With the food processor still running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency.
At this point you can freeze the pesto for later use. Line an ice-cube tray with plastic wrap or spray lightly with non-stick spray. Divide pesto into ice cube holes and place in freezer until solid. Pop out cubes and store in an air-tight container in the freezer until ready to use. Defrost in the fridge or at room temperature. Proceed with next step, if desired.
Remove mixture to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese. The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent browning.