Basil is one of my all-time favorite herbs. During the summer months, basil is abundant in farmers’ markets from Portland, Oregon all the way to Portland, Maine! I picked up some fresh basil at the Portland (Oregon!) Farmers’ Market last weekend and whipped up some pesto that’s the perfect complement to summery dishes like grilled zucchini or pasta salad. This recipe uses Tillamook Garlic White Cheddar for an extra creamy texture and garlicky taste. If you can’t find Garlic White Cheddar close to home, Tillamook Shredded 2 Cheese Italian Blend is a great substitute!
2 cups fresh basil leaves (lightly packed)
¼ cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, pressed (if you’re not a huge garlic fan, start with one and add more to taste)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz Tillamook Garlic White Cheddar, shredded
pinch of kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined into a paste, pausing occasionally to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Serving tip: Hosting a party? Show off your fresh pesto as a summery appetizer for your guests. Spread a teaspoon of pesto on top of 34 Degree Crisps. Add a small slice of Tillamook Swiss Cheese and a slice of a cherry or grape tomato. If you want to go above and beyond, toast lightly in a toaster oven or conventional oven until the cheese melts!