I have experimented with many ingredient amounts for pesto, I have finely found the one that has a perfect balance of flavor --- this will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, if you are storing it in the refrigerator I suggest to place a 1/2-inch layer of oil on top of the pesto and cover with a lid or you may freeze --- the success of this recipe will depend on the quality of Parmesan cheese that you use, if possible try to use a good quality freshly grated cheese it really will make a difference with the taste of the pesto, and please use only kosher salt --- FOR RED PESTO; reduce the basil to 3 cups, and add 1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes to the blender along with other ingredients.
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (about 3 large bunches)
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil
- 1⁄3 cup pine nuts (or can use toasted walnuts, or use half each)
- 3 medium fresh garlic cloves
- 1⁄4-1⁄3 cup freshly grated grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (can use 1-1/2 teaspoons if desired)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (optional, or use pinch cayenne pepper)
- Combine the basil, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic cloves in a blender (or food processor).
- Blend until a paste form, stopping often to push down the basil.
- Add in the Parmesan cheese and Kosher salt; blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a bowl.
- NOTE to clean fresh basil leaves; swirl in a bowl of water then spin them very dry in a salad spinner.
- If not using right away store the clean leaves in a sealed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel, the leaves should keep well refrigerated for up to 2 days.