1 1/2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional oil for sealing the top
3 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until finely chopped.

2. Add the oil through the feed tube with the motor running and continue processing until you have a smoothe paste. Briefly mix in the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Set aside for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop if you are going to use the pesto immediately. Otherwise, spoon it into an airtight container and pour in enough oil to completely cover the pesto and exclude any air. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

INSTRUCTIONS TO TOAST YOUR PINE NUTS, ALMONDS, OR WALNUTS:

1 cup of desired nuts

Toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown for 7 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, spread out the nuts on a baking sheet, and bake, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.