Wash the basil leaves in cold water, discard the stems, and dry thoroughly on paper towels (do not rub the leaves). Also peel off any thick spines from any larger basil leaves. I use my salad spinner for washing and drying the basil leaves.
In a blender or food processor, add garlic, toasted pine nuts, and salt; process for approximately 15 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture from the sides of the bowl. Add basil leaves, lemon juice, and olive oil, using the pulse technique, turning on and off, to shred the basil. A single batch works well in a blender, but use a food processor for larger batches.
Blend in the cheese. Now taste and see if you would like to add some more of any of the ingredients to your liking. For example, if you like your pesto to be thinner, add some extra virgin olive oil.
I made a double batch of Italian Basil Pesto. I will probably double that amount in the next batch I make. A double batch of pesto filled one (1) ice cube tray for freezing.
Makes 2 cups Italian Basil Pesto.
Press plastic wrap against the surface of the pesto to minimize any exposure to air and subsequent browning. Refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to two weeks. Before using, leave at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Spoon the pesto into a foil-lined custard cup; cover tightly with foil and freeze. Once frozen, remove the foil-wrapped packet and store in a freezer bag for up to 2 to 3 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or remove from the foil and thaw quickly in the microwave. Add Parmesan cheese just before serving.
To freeze in ice cube trays, line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap and fill with the pesto. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap and freeze. When the pesto is frozen solid, transfer to a freezer bag.
* Use the younger and smaller basil leaves for best flavor.
** Toast the pine nuts in a small heavy pot or frying pan over low heat, stirring frequently until golden, approximately 4 to 5 minutes (watch carefully as the pine nuts can burn easily). I always toast more pine nuts that I need in this recipe and then freeze the extra ones for later batches of pesto.
*** The fresh lemon juice helps to keep the green color in the pesto.
**** Do not compromise on this ingredient and make sure is good-quality Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Italian Basil Pesto Recipe - Pesto alla Genovese: https://whatscookingamerica.net/Sauces_Condiments/BasilPesto.htm