When you get to the Greenmarket and there is a bunch of basil the size of a small shrub, offered for the meager price of one dollar, staring at you there is only one thing to do. Buy it, head home and make some pesto. If you have a food processor or a blender, your best bet is to whip up as much as you can handle. It is easily frozen, allowing you to taste summer all year round.
Wash and dry your basil leaves, then place 2 tightly packed cups of basil in the food processor along with 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of pine nuts, a very generous pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Puree until smooth. At this point, you can continue on, or freeze some for future use. We recommend using an ice tray; once your pesto cubes are frozen, put them in a ziploc bag. This way, you can defrost only what you need.
If you are continuing, add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons of softened butter. Mix throughly until well blended.
Pesto is delicious on pasta, in pasta salads, on tomatoes, as a spread for sandwiches, atop a piece of simply grilled fish -- the possibilities are endless.
Recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan.