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Sauced

Sauced: Basil Pesto

Sauced: Basil Pesto

When devising a plan for the Sauced column, I really wanted to address the traditional condiments first. Understanding the basics will be beneficial down the road as we build a bigger sauce portfolio. Now three weeks in (here's the ketchup, mustard, and garlic chili oil columns, in case you missed them) all of your suggestions have made it hard to stay the course—I want to try it all now! Alas, I'm coming at you with another classic this week, basil pesto. (Hang tight, SE'rs, I'll get to the rest.)

Pesto is ripe for experimentation but if we're talking traditional, it's going to be basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan combined into a smooth paste. I really wanted to go Grandma-style and make it in a mortar and pestle, but unfortunately don't own one large enough. That led me to the simpler, food processor method.

It's quick work to get all the ingredients chopped and combined into a nutty, herbal paste. This instantly adds so much flavor and beauty to a host of foods including pasta, dips, and meats. Now with that traditional recipe out of the way, what have been your favorite pesto creations? I'm thinking a cilantro for my next version.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

Sauced: Basil Pesto

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About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 1 cup
Total time:15 minutes
Special equipment:Food processor

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Place basil and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until basil and pine nuts are finely chopped, about 5 1 second pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add garlic and pulse to combine.

  2. 2

    With the food processor running, pour oil through feed tube in a slow, steady stream. Keep food processor running until smooth, stopping to scrap down sides of bowl as necessary.

  3. 3

    Add the Parmesan and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to six months.

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