Although pesto is traditionally made with a mortar & pestle, the food processor makes it a really easy sauce. The trick is to add the oil so gradually that it emulsifies completely and makes a nice smooth paste. The pecans are a little twist on the authentic version; I really like the nutty undertones it gives to the sauce. Walnuts work too, but pecans are the best here, I think. (And after all, walnuts are really just pecan wannabes.)
makes about 2-1/2 cups (half for the freezer)
2 cups pecans, lightly toasted in a 350º oven for about 6 minutes
1/2 lb basil leaves (about 6 cups, packed)
2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
8 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb cooked pasta (linguine is great for this, but use your favorite)
Note: When you cook the pasta, reserve about a half cup of water before you drain it. You can use this to thin the sauce if need be.
Pulse pecans & basil in food processor until combined. Add cheese & garlic & salt and pulse until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. With machine running, add olive oil in a thin stream, again stopping & scraping as necessary. Thin with water if you like and taste for salt.
Put half of sauce into a small ziplock back and freeze; just thaw it it when you want some great summer flavor. Add remainder to hot cooked pasta and serve. Or chill & serve cool.