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.
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.