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      Scottie's Basil Pesto

      Basil Pesto:

      • 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
      • 1/3 cup olive oil
      • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
      • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
      • Pinch of powdered ascorbic acid (vitamin C), optional
      • Sea salt, preferably gray salt
      • Freshly ground black pepper
      • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

      OPTIONAL:{} 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 andplunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the basil and stir sothat it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off theexcess water, then plunge the basil into the ice water bath and stir again soit 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 olive oil, pine nuts,garlic, vitamin C if using and salt and pepper to taste. Blend for at least 30seconds. In this way, the green of the basil will thoroughly color the oil. Addthe cheese and pulse to combine. The pesto will keep several days in a tightlysealed container in the refrigerator. Makes about 3/4 cup.

      Cook's Notes: If your pesto typically turns army green shortly after youmake it, you'll appreciate the beauty of this version. I blanch the basilbriefly to set the color, and I add a pinch of powdered ascorbic acid (vitaminC), which keeps the pesto from oxidizing.

      I use pure olive oil for pesto so the clear flavor of the herb dominates. Ifyou want to freeze the pesto, omit the nuts and cheese.{}

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