Fresh pesto is one of those miraculous condiments that can do just about anything. Toss it with hot pasta, smear it on crusty bread, drizzle it over greens, rub it all over a whole chicken and then roast it--the possibilities are endless. A mortar and pestle is a great, simple way to make pesto, but if you have a blender or food processor, it'll come together much faster with less of a mess.
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
6 cloves garlic, peeled and ends removed
1/2 cup medium intensity extra virgin olive oil, such as Ascolano
zest and juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Crush basil, garlic, lemon zest and pinenuts using mortar and pestle. Add liquids and salt and pepper until a paste forms. Alternatively, blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor.