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Pesto for the Palette

There is nothing better than making fresh pesto to enhance dishes. I love fresh pesto as a base for my bruschetta, in my pasta, on my pizza...............oh, so many options!

In addition to the obvious basil ingredient, it is imperative to have top rate extra virgin olive oil (evoo), real Parmigiano Reggiano (stamped with Parmigiano Reggiano on the rind), and toasted pine nuts among the ingredients.

I toast the pine nuts in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes tossing at the 2 1/2 minute mark. Be sure to set a timer because they toast quickly and are expensive to waste...........believe me, I have burned my share!

Next, let the pine nuts cool and then transfer to a food processor. Once cooled, add approximately a cup of cheese and 3 or 4 garlic cloves and pulse until finely ground. Next, add about 3 bunches of rinsed basil. Last, while the food processor is running, gradually add 3/4-1 cup of that delicious EVOO until it is the consistency you like. Top it off with some salt and it is ready to go.

If I am not going to use the pesto within a day, I put the pesto in ice cube trays much like I do with herbs; however, I do not top it with EVOO. I place the filled ice cube trays in the freezer overnight and then transfer the frozen pesto into freezer bags.

So, next time you want a pop of summer in your winter cuisine, head to the freezer and grab a few cubes. Enjoy!

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