|3||Cups||Fresh (live) Basil, including the delicate stems. Remove the hard, woody stems.|
|1/3||Cup||Lightly Salted, Dry-Roasted Cashews. Halves and pieces are fine.|
|1 or 2||Ounces||Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (a block about 1/2″ x 2″ x 2″)|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil|
Start with 1/4 tsp and add more if needed. Careful! – There’s very little difference between enough salt to make it perfect and enough to make it too salty.
- Add the nuts to the food processor with a sharp metal blade and as grind finely as possible.
- Add the grated cheese and garlic cloves and salt and process as finely as possible.
- Add the basil to the food processor and process as finely as possible.
- With the food processor still running, add Extra Virgin Olive oil until it has the consistency of a thick sauce. If the mixture sticks to the side of the bowl, you’ll need to stop and scrape it down. I usually need to do this once.
- The delicate stems taste just as good as the leaves and there’s no need to waste them. Use everything except the thick, woody stems.
- Store the extra pesto in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a lid. Before refrigerating, smooth out the surface and gently float a thin layer of olive oil on top. The oil will keep air away from the pesto and will prevent it from discoloring.
- Basil Pesto was traditionally made with pine nuts, however I switched to dry-roasted, lightly-salted cashews because:
- Cashews are about $6/pound. Pine nuts are $30+
- Nearly all the pine nuts I found appear to actually be Chinese or counterfeit “Italian” and not actually from Italy.
- Cashews don’t cause Pine Mouth
- None of my guests has ever noticed the difference.