Basil Pesto


4 cups packed basil leaves, washed
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden, cooled and chipped fine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
(or a mix of parm and pecorino)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch basil a handful at a time for 2 seconds, removing with a strainer or a slotted spoon to ice water. Drain basil in a sieve and pat dry. In a food processor puree basil with remaining ingredients until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pesto may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered with plastic wrap. Mixing in 1/4-1/2 cup of plain yogurt will preserve the color, and extend the storage time to 5 days. Pesto may also be frozen.