Pesto (Basil, Almond)

1/4 cup toasted almonds (pine nuts are traditional, but crazy expensive)
1 cup basil
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 garlic cloves, minced
healthy squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Spread almonds out on a sheet pan and bake for 5-7 minutes, until they smell and look toasty.  Be sure not to overtoast them or the pesto will taste acrid.

First, in a blender (best choice) or food processor (acceptable choice) or mortar and pestle (rustic but acceptable choice), grind the almonds.

Add basil

If you grow your own, you can hack a cup off without making much of a dent.

and process until chopped fine.

Pulse the blender or food processor while gradually adding olive oil until desired consistency is reached. If you’re using a mortar and pestle, just at this point transfer your almonds and basil to a bowl and drizze the olive oil in gradually while mixing with a spoon.

Then add your parmesan and garlic, salt and pepper and pulse briefly.  The reason is because if you overprocess garlic it gets bitter.  And raw, it’s already a little bitter.  So process it as little as you can. You may need to add a little more oil to loosen it after adding the parmesan.  Then add the healthy squeeze of lemon.

Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.

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