Pack the clean, washed basil leaves, pine nuts, grated parmesean and garlic into a blender along with the salt and pepper if you choose to add it.
Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the mixture to help it blend. Process in the blender or food processor adding more lemon juice or olive oil if necessary to bring the recipe to a uniform paste.
Pro tip! After scraping the pesto out of the blender, there will likely be some pesto trapped in the crevices of the blender. Add some more oil, perhaps some vinegar or lemon juice, and blend again! Makes a lovely salad dressing, and gleans the last bits of pesto flavor into usable form.
To serve, toss with warm, drained pasta for 6-8 servings, or spread it on pizza in lieu of red sauce. Can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.
A note on storage and preservation: Pesto is one of the few foods that we do not recommend canning in any form; because of the cheese and nuts it contains, and a relatively low acidity, it cannot be safely water-bath canned. Experiments in pressure canning left us with a brownish color, tasting so much less than what went into the jar, that we decided to allocate freezer space to it rather than attempt any other form of preservation. We are so lucky to live in an age of refrigeration! Pesto is truly at it’s green best when raw and uncooked. Freeze it in thin, flat packages; a freezer safe ziplock bag, or vacuum seal bags work quite well. Freezing in thin packages rather than deeper containers allows for rapid thawing and efficient use of freezer space.
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.