Pick basil early in the morning when the essential oils are most flavorful. Gently wash and pat dry. Store in paper towels in the crisper for use later in the day.
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 to 3 garlic cloves, to your taste
1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
About 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
About 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, Romano, or Sardinia cheese
Mince basil and garlic in a food processor. Add pine nuts and mix. Add cheese and mix. Slowly pour olive oil in a thin stream into the mix and blend until smooth.
Serve over pasta or spread on crusty bread with grilled vegetables for a tasty sandwich.
Did you study Latin in school? (Me neither.) Did you study Latin, but nod off in class? This handy little glossary, Gardener's Latin, by Bill Neal (Algonquin Books, 1992; $10.95) is perfect for those of us who stumble over plants' botanical names. It all makes more sense if you know that "frutescens" means "shrub-like," "repens" means "creeping," and "spinifera" means "bearing spines." Each page contains a charming myth, folklore, or bit of poetry about plants and their names.