- 4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup unhulled raw sunflower seeds (I used hulled)
- 1/2 – 1 cup olive oil (I found 1/2 cup to be too little)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tbsp sweet butter, softened
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
In a blender in batches, or in a food processor, puree the basil with the sunflower seeds, the oil, the Parmesan, the butter, the garlic, and salt to taste. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent discoloration. The pesto keeps, covered and chilled, for 2 weeks. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
To use the pesto: For every pound of dried pasta cooking in a kettle of boiling salted water, stir together in a heated serving bowl 3/4 cup pesto and 2/3 cup hot pasta cooking water. When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander, add it to the pesto mixture, and toss the mixture with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.