Basil pesto has been a long standing favorite of mine. I love the flavors of olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Basil is such a nice herb to work with. You can snip it off and add it to sauces for subtle flavor or you can go on basil overload and whip up some pesto. I've been known to slather pesto on my veggies and tofu slices while they're grilling. Simply said, basil pesto adds a wonderful flavor to just about anything you're cooking from pasta to bruschetta. The recipe for basil pesto is very simple and pretty much the same from cookbook to cookbook. This one comes from Giada De Laurentiis's "Giada's Family Dinners."
It all starts with this:
Try it on french bread slices with a little blue cheese and roasted red pepper:
Here it is over gnocci with fresh chopped summer tomato:
Basil Pesto (makes 1 cup)
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 large garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
In a food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper until finely chopped. With the food processor still running, gradually add enough olive oil to form a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in the cheese. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper to taste. Pesto can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.