- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 3 cups basil leaves, tightly packed
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (1 tsp of zest; 1 tbsp juice)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Pinch pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Optional: Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat or in a 350° oven until slightly browned and fragrant. This only takes a few minutes and really enhances the nutty flavor. Cool slightly.
- To the bowl of a food processor (or blender), add the walnuts, basil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Reserve a small handful of basil and walnuts to incorporate after adding the olive oil (optional). Pulse until coarsely ground, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
- With the food processor running, gradually add in the olive oil until fully incorporated, again scraping down the sides as needed. Add the reserved walnuts and basil and pulse a few times until well combined but still retaining a bit of the texture.
- Use immediately or transfer to a jar to store in the fridge, pouring a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent pesto from oxidizing (turning brown). Pesto also freezes really well.