Basil Pesto

2 c. firmly packed fresh  basil leaves*
1/3 c. walnuts or pine nuts*
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 small cloves (or 1 large  one) garlic
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

*Fresh cilantro or parsley can be substituted for the basil leaves; stir in two teaspoons lime juice. Unsalted roasted sunflower seeds can replace nuts; or replace nuts with doubled amount of Parmesan. In food processor combine all ingredients except oil. Pulse until thick paste forms. With processor on, add oil in slow stream until mixture is well combined. Transfer to airtight container. Press plastic wrap directly onto pesto (to keep basil from browning). Cover with lid; refrigerate up to four days or freeze up to two months. Makes about one cup. (Freeze in an ice cube tray for easy usage.)
Pesto Suggestions
Toss frozen cube into minestrone or lentil soup; add to marinara sauce; combine with boiled new potatoes, steamed greens or sauteed zucchini; coat fish fillets with pesto, then sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake or broil; spread onto a turkey sandwich instead of mayonnaise; spoon onto grilled lamb or pork chops.

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