Basil adds a wonderful flavor to most dishes, but my favorite basil dish is Basil Pesto! And you can't beat Pesto made with basil leaves that were just picked from the field.
I have played around with several different recipes for Pesto and this is the combination that works best for me. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!
Bekki's Fresh Basil Pesto
2 cups basil leaves (press down gently when you fill the cup up and get as much as you can in there without crushing them)
6-8 cloves garlic
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp pine nuts
1-2 tbsp parmesan cheese
Pepper to taste
Start by adding about 1/2 cup basil leaves and 1 tbsp oil and 1 or 2 garlic cloves to your food processor and chop finely. Continue to add basil, garlic and oil until you have the entire 2 cups of leaves chopped in the food processor.
I like to add the pine nuts after the leaves and garlic are chopped. I use a little more or less depending on how dark green my basil leaves are. I've noticed if the leaves are light and I add too much of the pine nuts the whole thing ends up looking white.
I add the parmesan and pepper last. I don't like to use too much as I think it tastes pretty good without it, but it does add a nice final touch.
Enjoy on crackers, red pepper, pita bread or stirred into your favorite pasta dish.
Pesto has a short shelf life, so don't keep it in the refrigerator for too long. If you want to save your leaves, you can just process the garlic, basil and oil and free in small serving cups. Defrost and add the pine nuts and parmesan after you have defrosted.