Hello and thank you to my millions of fans for your adoring replies on my last "what to cook for dinner" post. I apologize to those of you who did not receive a personal reply, however I've been very busy in the kitchen and the volume simply doesn't allow for individual responses. The following recipe, while unmeasured and often plagiarized, is 100% Milburn family authentic, unifluenced by any outside sources. As is brought to my attention by an adoring reader, "Milburn family authentic" in this case refers to a recipe developed by a Hyerle, who while not a Milburn by strict definition, managed to "raise" the two Milburn brats or at least keep them alive and mostly scarred until their late teens.
Awesome Basil Pesto:
To begin you will need
One (1) old fashioned meat grinder; cleaned, prepped, and clamped to the table. This is an integral aspect of this recipe and it would be dishonor to the recipe, the ingredients, and the Milburn family to attempt this with a food processor or G*d forbid, a blender. If you don't own one, ask your grandma or peruse your local antique shops.
One (1) beautiful bunch of basil. If the bunches are measly and small it is better to use two. The recipe is best adapted for the GIANT bunches of basil sold cheaply at the peak of basil season. Just in case some one somewhere (like Russia or Hawaii) is unclear on the fresh basil business...IT MUST BE FRESH BASIL. Frozen, dried or otherwise fouled basil is a waste of your time. Best to purchase it from a man with dreads at a farmers market in northern California. Enslave an unsuspecting family member to pluck leaves from stem and rinse throughly before beginning to grind. Few things are more dissapointing than gritty pesto.
Five (5) small (roughly half (1/2) inch) cubes of Parmesan, or its lowly cheap domestic relative Romano.
Three (3) to Five (5) cloves of garlic, peeled. Do not buy pre-pealed garlic. This pesto is all about freshness, and some of the fantastic peppery garlic bite is lost soon after peeling.
One quarter (1/4) cup extra virgin olive oil. The pricer it is the better.
One quarter (1/4) cup pine nuts. If you either hate pine nuts or are hopelessly thrifty you may substitute walnuts with out any great loss of flavor.
Half (1/2) a lemon.
Once you have gathered the necessary ingredients, run the the basil, pine nuts, cheese and garlic through the grinder catching them in a small bowl on the other end. While turning the hand crank, shove large handfulls ofalternating ingredients into the grinder. Make sure to finish with basil so as not to leave a considerable portion of the more potent ingredients inside the grinder. the resulting product will be fluffy and dark and rather course. Do not be shocked if it is not as garish or as soupy as the typical commercial products. This is a true rustic style pesto.
Add the olive oil to this mixture and stir until everything is uniform. Keep an eye out for remaining pockets of unmixed cheese or nuts as they tend to cling together. Finally add the salt pepper to taste, and the lemon juice, which preserves the color.
Finally you may step back and observe the bountiful product of your labor. Do not be surprised or saddened that this bears little resemblance to lowly grocery store pesto, or inferior pureed recipes. The gentle pulverization of the leaves and spices maintains their fresh flavor while artfully wedding them in this superior pesto. The product you observe is sufficient for approximately one and one half (1.5) generously sauced pounds of pasta, although less if you are using angel hair or other small pasta variety which has a greater surface area to be covered.
I would be negligent if I failed to mention that due to the lengthy process, the universal hunger for pesto, and the short basil season, the Milburns preserve many or more containers of pesto in the freezer. Simply fill individual yogurt containers leaving only a scant 1/8th inch to cover containers with extra olive oil. The olive oil covering prevents oxidization and should fill the container completely such that the oil squishes over the sides slightly as the lid is secured. Each yogurt container is sufficient for one pound of pasta. This recipe is best increased by five (5) fold, and the extras saved. The process shall be continued through the warm months until enough containers have been saved to allow one per week for the cold and dreary non-basil portion of the calendar.
To the novice cook who has at last read the final paragraph after finishing the recipe and who now wrings his or her hands in distress crying "oh why, oh why did did i not make 5 batches of this heavenly creation?! Why has the unkind author waited until the final notes to deliver such wisdom?" To you I say "Thou art a FOOL" for she who proceeds to create without envisioning the minutest detail from beginning to end will continually blunder. Many fine ingredients shall be fouled by she who fails to read the recipe in full before beginning to cook.
For further and more authoritative notes about the harmfull aspects of food processors to pesto please read the following article