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Basic Pesto

· 1/4 cup pine nuts , toasted (or substitute almonds               

        or walnuts)

· 3 medium cloves garlic , unpeeled

· 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves or arugula

· 2 Tbs fresh parsley leaves (optional)

· 7 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

· Salt

· 1/4 C finely grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano

· ground black pepper

1. Toast the nuts in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes; set aside.

2. Add the garlic to the empty skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and the color of the cloves deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let the garlic cool slightly, then peel, and chop.

3. Place the basil and parsley (if using) in a heavy-duty 1-gallon zipper-lock plastic bag. Pound the bag with the flat side of a meat pounder or rolling pin until all the leaves are bruised.

4. Process the nuts, garlic, herbs, oil, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt in a   

        food processor until smooth, stopping as necessary to

         scrape down the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute.

5. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.


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