hello, pesto

Since this year's garden is little more than a water-starved sand patch, I've had little use for a pesto recipe. Nothing a trip to Orlando's Vietnamese district, where a bag of pretty basil can be bought for $1, can't fix. Usually I make my pesto garlicky, but I just didn't feel like it this time. I know, I can't believe I just wrote that.

sunflower-basil pesto

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds - get them at the health food store or Publix produce dept.
4 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil, to start
salt and pepper

Toast the sunflower seeds in a hot, dry, cast iron pan just until they begin to brown, shaking the pan so they don't burn. Let the seeds cool.

Dump the cooled seeds into a food processor (mine's a little half-sized one and it fits all of this) and puree them a bit. Add the basil, cheese, and about 1/2 cup of olive oil and get to smooshing. Add oil as needed to keep everything moving around - I ended up adding what seemed like a ton of oil, but since I don't measure as I add, who knows?

When the pesto looks like something you could mix into pasta, give it a taste and add salt and pepper, maybe a pinch of chili if you want it.

Leave a bit of the cooking water on your pasta when you drain it, and add a bit of oil if the pesto still seems dry after you mix it in.

This batch made enough for two pounds of pasta, so I'll freeze the leftover half.

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