Summer is coming to an end, but basil plants are still pushing on determinedly. What to do with that bunch of basil going slowly limp in your crisper? It's more obvious than obvious, of course, but a pesto whirred together in your food processor is a quick way to preserve some of that summer aroma for colder, shorter days. I like to make my pesto without the cheese, in case I feel like freezing portions of it. When the time comes to serve the pesto, you defrost it, and grate fresh cheese into the mix.
I know that some people like to make pesto without a recipe, so they can adjust the garlic or oil levels. But when I've done so in the past, the pesto always comes out too garlicky or over-nutted or super-oily. So I follow the following well-balanced method each time. For someone who makes single portion servings of pasta for herself, this amount of pesto ends up serving me well for several days. I like to add a boiled, sliced potato and some boiled, thin green beans to the pasta and pesto.
First, 2 cups of fresh basil leaves are washed and patted dry.
Then, 2 cloves of garlic are peeled and dropped into a food processor along with 3 tablespoons of pine nuts (feel like toasting them? go ahead), salt, and a half cup of olive oil.
Add the basil and puree until a bright green sauce comes together.
You can put this sauce in a container, cover it with a film of olive oil and store it in the fridge for a week. Take out as much as you like for each serving and while the pasta cooks, grate Parmigiano into the serving bowl, mixing in the basil puree to make pesto.