1 1/2 cups


          Pesto can be made from almost any kind of herb, not just basil; it can contain cheese or nuts or not, depending on what it is intended for. Pestos made of herbs, garlic, chilies and oil are used in marinades, combined with butter and stock to brush on grilled meats, blended with cheese and toasted nuts for stuffing meat or with cheese and tomato relish for filling quesadillas.


          2 cloves garlic, peeled

          2 tablespoons lightly toasted nuts (pine nuts, almonds, pecans or walnuts)

          2 cups fresh herb leaves (basil or cilantro or a combination of both)

          1/2 cup parsley leaves

          1/4 to 1/2 cup safflower oil or virgin olive oil

          1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)

          2 small hot chilies, ground (optional)


          Put the garlic, nuts, herbs, parsley, oil and Parmesan cheese and chilies, if using, in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until finely minced. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week.

For grilling, season the meat, fish or poultry with salt and pepper, then squeeze lime juice on both sides. Thin the pesto with stock and brush it on the meat or fish or poultry during grilling to add flavor and moisture.

For a marinade, brush the pesto full strength on the meat, fish or poultry. Place in a shallow layer of marinade and turn several times. Do not submerge meat. Fish and poultry require only 15 to 20 minutes marination but tough cuts of meat may be marinated overnight. The drained marinade may be used for basting during cooking.

For seasoning, stir 3 to 4 tablespoons (or to taste) of pesto made without cheese and nuts into cheese or creamy dips or rice or risotto. Pesto can also be used to liven up bland soups, particularly those made with pinto or black beans, lentils or other legumes.