* 1-1/2 cups of fresh basil (I can usually grab a package for $2.00 at my local Latino grocery store) - Just rinse really well.
* 3-4 large garlic cloves-minced
* 1/2 cup water-or less (optional is making a less calorie version + 4 tablespoons olive oil)
* 3/4 cup olive oil -or less (I happen to have spanish olive oil which provides a little extra taste similar to that of extra virgin olive oil.)
* 3/4 cup walnuts
* 1/2-3/4 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese (it doesn't have to be parmegiano reggiano which is super expensive - but do not use that stuff from the green can people - oh you know exactly what I am talking about) - And grating it yourself also saves on money. I can usually get a decent brand for $5-6 dollars a good sized wedge that lasts me a month from the cheese section at the large grocery store- and I use slivers of it over salads, and any pasta dishes.
* Kosher or sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
* ***Equipment needed:
* Blender or Food Processor (I have made pesto in both successfully), cutting board, paper towels or clean hand towels
# This pesto is a creamy pesto which normally does not separate - Adding water also 'extends' the product.
# Also note that mature basil plants (in late August - should you grow your own) will create a more-peppery tasting pesto - versus pesto you may make in May - So in fact you may want to use less of the basil if your leaves are extra big - heck just taste them, put them in your mouth and you will see what I mean. Now take a piece of a little-bitty leaf - tastes different doesn't it? OK, now that, that's out of the way - whew! Back to the directions.
# Rinsing and washing your basil well, gently shake off any excess water.
# Break or pinch with your fingers (hey get the kids, let them do this work) off any stems and place leaves on paper towels or clean hand towels. Roll them up in paper towels to gently squeeze any extra moisture out of leaves.
# Mince leaves on cutting board as best as you can and place into blender or food processor. (Minced leaves will leave you with about 3/4 cups of basil which is perfect)
# Add your freshly grated cheese, minced garlic, and walnuts to food processor.
# Pulse several times.
# Add half cup of the olive oil and then it's time turn on blender or food processor to max.
# Stop a few times to carefully scrape down any product that may have climbed up the sides.
# Add 1/4 cup or more of olive oil or water. Turn your machine on again, let water get incorporated.
# Now taste-test your pesto - add freshly cracked pepper and salt to your liking.# Add the rest of the olive oil and/or water should you wish a slightly thinner pesto" And just pulse a few more times to incorporate.
# Pesto lasts for at least 2 weeks in a sealed container in the fridge.
# You can also freeze the pesto too - perfect for those of you who have grown too much basil.
# Let pesto stand out from the fridge for 10 minutes before using to make spreading it easier.
# When adding to pastas, a little goes a long way.