Basil and hazelnut pesto sauce
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup basil flavored olive oil virgin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toast the Hazelnuts: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until they’re lightly golden and fragrant. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning. Once toasted, remove from the oven and let them cool slightly.
Prepare the Basil: Wash and thoroughly dry the basil leaves. Removing excess moisture helps prevent the pesto from becoming watery.
Blend the Ingredients: In a food processor, combine the toasted hazelnuts, garlic cloves, and grated Parmesan cheese. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped and well combined.
Add Basil and Olive Oil: Add the fresh basil leaves to the food processor. While pulsing, gradually drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil until the mixture forms a smooth and cohesive sauce. You can adjust the amount of olive oil based on your desired consistency.
Season and Adjust: Taste the pesto and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to your liking. Keep in mind that Parmesan cheese is already salty, so start with a small amount of salt and adjust as needed. Final Blending: Blend all the ingredients together in the food processor until the pesto reaches your desired texture. Some people prefer a smoother consistency, while others like a slightly chunky texture.
Store or Use Immediately: If you’re not using the pesto right away, transfer it to a clean, airtight jar or container. Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top to help preserve its vibrant green color. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.