’Tis the season for fresh summer bounty. Tomatoes are ripening. Corn, too. And the basil’s been going strong for a while. What better summer dinner is there than BLTs, corn on the cob, and a nice side of pasta with fresh pesto sauce? I’ve recently started growing basil every summer (not to be confused with mint, which I grew only once . . . it took over my yard so horrendously that I had to move to escape it). The reason I grow basil is obvious – pesto. I adore pesto. I would bathe in it if I could make enough of it. And while most people intuitively know how to make a BLT or corn on the cob without recipes (if you don’t know how to do these things, email me in private – this is not something you want to admit to other people), wars have been fought over pesto recipes.
But, fear not. I have the best one. I know, I know, you probably think you already own the best pesto recipe yourself, but, unfortunately, you are mistaken. This recipe that I have (and that I will share with you very soon) was given to me by someone who knows all – my hairdresser. I mean, really, if a hairdresser hasn’t been able to find the best pesto recipe in the world, then (s)he can’t be much of a hairdresser, right? And, my hairdresser is such a generous and kind person that she gave me the A-OK to share this recipe with you. So get out your pen and paper, or copy/paste/print. Then, make this and savor it . . . and tell me I’m right. Or, go ahead and give us your recipe! I promise to have an open mind . . .
2 cups basil leaves, thoroughly washed and patted dry.
4 good-sized (my hairdresser’s words) garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 cup pine nuts (or walnuts – but why would you use walnuts when you could use pine nuts?)
1 cup olive oil
1 cup freshly grated imported parmesan cheese
¼ cup freshly grated imported Romano cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: You may add a “dollop” of butter to the mixture, although my hairdresser says this gets very controversial between those who favor butter and those who don’t.
Combine basil, garlic and nuts in the bowl of a food processor and chop. Leave the motor running and add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Shut the motor off and add cheese, a pinch of salt and a liberal grinding of pepper (and the butter, if you wish). Process a few more seconds.
Makes 2 cups – enough for 2 lbs. of pasta.