Toast pine nuts by heating a small pan. Add pine nuts to the dry pan and let them warm through for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them cool.
Wash your basil and set it out on a paper towel to collect the excess water. Remove the leaves from the stems by pinching the stems just below the leaf clusters. (This way you will be left with nice, unblemished leaves and very little stem.)
Measure the basil leaves and place them in the food processor. Add peeled garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Blend the basil with other ingredients using the pulse button on the food processor. Scrape down the bowl, and continue to blend until the pesto is evenly chopped and mixed.
Serve this pesto over pasta for a light summer dinner.
Do I need to toast pine nuts before using them?Pine nuts are perfectly safe to eat raw. However, toasting pine nuts in a dry pan will deepen their flavor and give you a nice buttery nut to add to a dish.Does Pesto need to be cooked?The short answer is no. Everything in the pesto is safe to eat raw and it is actually much more flavorful uncooked. Cooking pesto will dampen the flavors and melt your cheese which changes the texture.If you are using pesto as a pasta sauce, then you can add the sauce directly to the hot pasta. The hot pasta will warm the sauce through. You can add ¼ cup of pasta water to the sauce to thin it. Can I store fresh pesto?Yes! You can keep fresh basil pesto in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze pesto for up to six months.Tips and TricksIf your parmesan is whole, don’t waste time grating it by hand. Simply throw it in the food processor ahead of the rest of the ingredients. Make sure the bowl and blade are dry, then pulse large pieces until you have evenly grated parmesan.