Today's Times had a piece on pesto that got me hungry, so I decided to make some myself. (Click the image for a slide show of the process, which begins in the garden).
Contrary to the article, I think the key to good pesto is a mortar and pestle. Why? Because a solid pounding releases moisture in the basil leaves, which means you use less olive oil. And I hate greasy noodles. It also takes less time than a food processor, since you don't have to clean up the machine. But this advice works best for a small batch, which is all I ever make these days since the stuff you make and put in the freezer doesn't compare.
I kept a loose eye on my watch during the process and found it takes about three minutes to pound basil into pesto. The key is to pound it with salt, garlic and pine nuts, which help the leaves break down. While the pasta was boiling, I made and ate a salad.
It was an extremely pleasant repast and took all of 35 minutes.