Pesto is an extremely versatile sauce and the perfect flavor enhancer to soups, risotto, and salad dressings. It keeps in the refrigerator for days and frozen (without the addition of cheese or butter) for months. I use it to top fish, chicken, and vegetables, along with the obvious, pasta. Another delicious way of using it is to add a tablespoon or two to a half stick of softened butter, and make a log using plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate it until it is firm, and it can then be sliced into medallions and used to top a grilled steak.
The "purists" way of making pesto is by using basil and pignoli, but quite frankly any herb or nut will do. As an alternative, make it with mint, green olives and capers as a condiment with lamb.
2 cups washed and dried basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pignoli (I often use walnuts)
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons softened butter
In a food processor, put the first 6 ingredients and pulse to a creamy consistency. Transfer to a bowl and mix in cheese and butter by hand.
If you do not plan on using it immediately, add the cheese and butter just before using.