First let's talk about cutting the Basil. There is a right way and a wrong way. If you cut it the wrong way you will stunt it's growth and cause it to begin to flower. The trick to cutting it correctly is to cut about a third of the way down the stem right where some leaves are forming. In this image I had just cut the basil plant and you can see the new growth. If you cut the basil correctly you will actually encourage it's growth and you'll be able to harvest more and for a lot longer!
There are many recipes for pesto and they all have different variations - this one happens to be my favorite basic pesto:2 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 or 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
2/3 cup good quality olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts(I used walnuts)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
The first step is to wash the basil - the best method is to fill a bowl will cold water and immerse the basil giving it a few good swishes. Then combine all of the ingredients except the cheese in a food processor andpulse until it is well blended and becomes a sauce- about 10-20 seconds.
Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl with a rubber spatula and fold in the cheese. And viola - you've got pesto! Store it in the fridge in an air-tight container. If you don't plan on eating it within 3 or 4 days then throw it in the freezer where it will last for up to six months.
What's in season? basil & garlic