Basil-Lemon-Mint Pesto

Basil is a delicate herb, and it immediately starts turning dark when cut. To keep the bright green color, blanch the basil (and mint) by dipping it in boiling water. When tossing pesto with pasta (use 2/3 cup pesto for 8 oz. pasta), be sure to reserve some of the pasta water to mix with the pesto for a lighter, smoother sauce.

2 1/2 cups packed fresh basil (about 6 oz.)
1/2 cup packed fresh mint
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
2 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Blanch basil and mint in medium saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds or just until herbs turn bright green; immediately drain. Cool in ice water; drain well. Gently squeeze herbs to remove excess water; pat dry.

2. Pulse nuts in food processor until finely chopped; remove. With processor running, drop garlic through feed tube; finely chop. Add basil and mint; pulse until finely chopped. Add lemon peel, lemon juice, salt and pepper. With processor running, slowly pour in oil until blended. Place in small bowl; stir in nuts and cheese. (Cover and refrigerate no more than 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.)

1 1/4 cups

PER 2 TABLESPOONS: 150 calories, 15.5 g total fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 2 g protein, 2 g carbohydrate, 5 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

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