To make basil pesto, combine 2 cups fresh basil leaves, two garlic cloves, 1/4 cup pine nuts and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a food processor, and process until smooth. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste, and mix in 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese upon serving.
If using the pesto immediately, process the mixture with 2/3 cup of olive oil instead of 1/2 cup. If freezing the pesto, place it in an airtight container, and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the mixture. Store the pesto in the freezer for up to three months, and take it out to thaw and stir in the cheese whenever you wish to use it. This basil pesto recipe is from the Food Network Kitchen and yields approximately 1 cup of pesto.
Use this basil pesto atop cheesy garlic bread, in penne pasta dishes, on chicken sandwiches or with grilled chicken. Reviewers recommend flavor variations such as fresh lemon zest, cloves or cannellini beans, which you can toss into the food processor along with the original ingredients. If you don't have pine nuts, walnuts work in a pinch. You can also substitute regular Parmesan for the Pecorino cheese, and you can add extra garlic cloves for a richer flavor.