Basic Pesto Sauce

1 bunch basil, stemmed
1 C packed leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 T toasted pine nuts*
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 c (4 oz) grated parmesan
1 C extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, puree the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, salt and parmesan cheese until smooth. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.Note: Pesto keeps well for up to 1 week, refrigerated and tightly covered. It can also be frozen.

* To toast the nuts; preheat a skillet over medium heat. Spread the nuts in a single layer and shake them occasionally. Watch them carefully because they only take several minutes to toast and can burn easily.

This sauce can be used as a marinade, or as a sauce for everything from toasted bread to tuna…not to mention pasta!

TIP: In winter, when fresh basil is more difficult to find, substitute 1 cup of Italian parsley leaves and add 1 tsp of dried basil to make a sauce similar in flavor.