2/3 cup toasted pine nuts
2-3 garlic cloves (optional)
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil (use a good one)
Salt & pepper (be generous)
This is SO simple. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Start with about 1/3 cup olive oil. Pulse until it is a coarse paste. With the food processor on low, slowly stream in more oil until it looks emulsified. Ta da!
So you make a big batch, how do you store it? The best way I've found is to pour it in an ice tray, freeze overnight, then put the cubes in a zippered freezer bag. The cubes are great for portioning, too. Use 1 cube for each serving of pasta. Make enough to carry you through the winter!
Pesto is fun to play with, too. Parsley, walnuts, and Romano makes for a great sauce, too. Dill, pistachio, and feta is fantastic, believe it or not.
Buy some extra basil and some grape tomatoes, and you can have a quick summery side: halve the tomatoes, put in a little handful of basil sliced in thin strips (called chiffonade), salt, pepper, and some good olive oil and balsamic. Stir well and let stand at room temperature for a little while. Ta da! My son makes this on his own (well, he still needs a little help slicing the basil). Cooking is a great way to spend quality time.
What else do you like to make with basil?