Classic Pesto

2 cups solidly packed Basil leaves
3-4 medium garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts or slivered almonds
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup virgin olive oil

In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients except oil.  Stop once or twice during blending to scrape down sides with rubber spatula. add oil and blend to a smooth puree, but don't over grind- you should be able to see tiny bits of basil leaves. Will keep in the refrigerator for a week or so or can be frozen for later use (leave out cheese)

To serve: cook up 1 lb. of pasta - spaghetti or linguini- Save a 1 or 2 T. of the hot water and stir into pesto to make a thin paste. Toss pasta with butter or oil then combine with pesto and serve immediately.  Can also be added to omelets, soups, or vegetables.   Try with smoked salmon in  pasta and Hinzerling Pinot noir for a never to be- forgotten meal.

Lean Pesto

2 cup fresh basil leaves
1-1/2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic or more to taste
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chicken stock ( homemade is best but low sodium works well too.)

Add all ingredients except stock to a food processor or blender and pulse until chopped. With machine running, gradually add chicken stock and scrape down sides with spatula and blend until smooth. Place plastic wrap over dish to discourage discoloration- use as regular pesto.

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