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The Salty Dog's Blog

Hazelnut Pesto

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by Chef Didi Davis
Makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups

If hazelnuts are not readily available, use pecans. Pesto keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator or it also freezes well.

3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, quartered
1/3 cup skinned hazelnuts, toasted*
1/2 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or 1/4 cup each Parmesan and Romano cheese)
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste

Place basil, garlic, and toasted nuts in a blender or food processor and blend to a puree, scraping down the sides of the container a couple of times. Add the oil and blend just to mix. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in the cheese, pepper, and salt to taste. Use or refrigerate.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a cake pan and toast 7-10 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool. If you cannot find skinned hazelnuts, skin them after toasting by transferring to a clean dish towel and rub them together to loosen the skins. Remove nuts and discard skins.

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