There’s a bucket of basil leaves sitting in my hallway right now, a hallway that usually smells like sawdust. There’s something so pleasant about basil, its scent so refreshing, its color so grassy, and it really has this magical power to metamorphose mood, to turn that frown upside down, to rouse a few minutes of writing on a sunny day after snipping its leaves with scissors. (Snipping leaves with scissors is also a truly pleasant activity in case you haven’t tried it.)
But remember pesto? I had forgotten about fresh pesto made by hand. And not someone else’s hand because while, yes, Frank Caputo makes a damn good pesto by hand, my hand works, too, and pesto is just too gratifying a pursuit to pass the satisfaction off to somebody else. And as tempting as it is to google a recipe for it, don’t. Basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan, nuts, salt and pepper. Fill your food processor by eyeballing all of it. Taste it. Eyeball it again. Adjust as you go. Pulse, pulse some more. Dip your finger in for a lick. More nuts? Sure. More cheese? Do it. Make a few containers, refrigerate one, freeze the rest, maybe hand deliver one to someone you like a whole lot. Serve it on your favorite pasta. (I’m still deciding between spaghetti or shells for tonight.) Drizzle a tablespoon over scrambled eggs. Add it to a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. Brush it onto bruschetta. Mix it into a summery quinoa salad. Combine it with potatoes. Fold it into scones. Make a freaking pizza. Because pesto.