Luke’s Favorite Pesto

I found fresh basil (!) the other day and, Winter-be-damned, decided to make pesto. I prefer toasted walnuts to pine nuts, and I don’t use any parmesan cheese. I add that later when I use the pesto. Sometimes I double this recipe and freeze the extra in ice cube trays. It holds for several months in the freezer or a week or so in the fridge. Enjoy!

2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ c. toasted walnut pieces
1-2 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp. finely ground sea salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes (opt.)
½- 2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

Place the basil leaves, walnuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. With the machine running, slowly add ½ c. of the olive oil in a thin stream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process again until basil, nuts and garlic are minced and the oil is incorporated. Check for consistency– Pesto should be creamy on your tongue. Add more oil, a couple tablespoons at a time, if you want, being sure to scrape down bowl as you go. Once you’ve reached a consistency you are happy with, taste for seasoning. (Note: Pesto without enough salt tastes “flat,” but it is often used with parmesan cheese, which is salty, so you might consider under-seasoning the pesto and adding more salt later, if needed.)

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