½ bunch fresh Cilantro, stems trimmed 2 inches from the bottom
1 cup fresh Basil leaves
1 cup Olive Oil, plus extra for storage
½ Serrano Chile or 1 Jalapeño, coarsely chopped (include seeds for additional spice)
2 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
½ crumbled Cotija cheese or shredded Pecorino or Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Spread the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a dry baking sheet. Put the sheet in the oven and bake, checking them and shaking the pan every 3 minutes, until they start to dance, puff up and brown lightly, about 10 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, transfer the seeds to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Put the cilantro, basil and olive oil into a food processor, and puree for 2 minutes. Add the chile, garlic, pumpkin seeds and cotija and pulse until you have a coarse purée.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To store, put it into a container with a tight-fitting lid and pour ¼ inch of olive oil over the surface to keep out the air. Each time you use it, stir that oil in, and replace with another ¼ inch of oil before closing the container, this makes an airtight seal that will keep it tasting fresh for up to 10 days.
Treat yourself this weekend to a couple of easy and refreshing cocktails. The Italian Negroni is a popular aperitif in South America, while Fernet con Cola is an original creation from Córdoba, Argentina.