3 ounces Romano cheese
4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
juice from 1/2 lemon, optional
Process cheese in a food processor until crumbly. Add basil leaves, garlic and pine nuts. Pulse several times. Turn processor on and slowly pour in olive oil. Add salt and lemon juice, if using, and process until smooth. Toss with hot pasta. Store in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil on top to help maintain the bright green color. This is enough sauce for 16 ounces of dried pasta, sauced generously.
Hints: I know, I know...Parmesan cheese is the classic flavor but I just adore Romano and Parmesan is just so-so to my tongue. Make the switch if your tongue disagrees with mine. A food processor is such a boon here, almost a necessity. Use more oil if you want to thin the sauce out a bit more. Another way to go: replace the pine nuts with walnuts. Pesto works great as a sauce base for pizza instead of a red sauce. Add it to lasagne. Spread it on a sandwich like Sophie's fresh mozzarella.. Rinse and use the basil right away as it will darken quickly once you begin working with it. Grow basil! If you have a garden spot at all, grow basil! Lots of it and different kinds! Let me know if you have any extra you want to get rid of.
Another multi-use sauce. A bit of pesto can transform a dish. It pairs well with fish, chicken, pork, beef, tofu, quinoa, etc. The smell is fabulous. This is a very quick sauce to make and some days that is exactly what one needs.