Basil Sunflower Seed Pesto

Basil Sunflower Seed Pesto

4 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup unhulled raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup fresly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons sweet butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, crushed

In a blender in batches or in a food processor puree the basil with the sunflower seeds, the oil, the Parmesan, the butter, the garlic, and salt to taste. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent discoloration. The pesto keeps, covered and chilled, for 2 weeks. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

To use the pesto: For every pound of dried pasta cooking in a kettle of boiling salted water, stir together in a heated serving bowl 3/4 cup pesto and 2/3 cup hot pasta cooking water. When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander, add it to the pesto mixture, and toss the mixture with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

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