In one of our first CSA baskets this summer we received what can only be described as a boatload of amazingly fresh basil (in case you want to know, our CSA is Gathering Together Farm, just the best).
It was a delicious hit in the garden with a large baguette and an open fire.
Knowing this basil would probably wilt if not used soon, we went to the natural choice of making pesto. We will confess, we have never been the biggest fans of pesto, but this was pretty terrific. We used cashews in because it was the only nuts we had on hand, and it made a huge difference. You can also use walnuts, pine nuts (and probably any other nut that Christopher Guest lists in “Best in Show”).
This makes about 16 oz – and we put them into clean jam jars we had on hand and put them in the fridge – yes, there was some browning after a couple of hours, but the taste remained great. It’s best to try to use it fresh of within a day of making it.
You’ll need 2 cups fresh basil (the fresher the better, leaves removed from stalks and talks discarded), 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 c raw unsalted cashews, 1 large garlic clove, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 c olive oil.
And it’s this simple: place everything into a foods processor and blend well until smooth.
Serve on its own, spread over bread or as a sauce on freshly cooked pasta.