- BASIL PESTO:
- 2 tablespoons lightly toasted walnut pieces 
- 1 cup cleaned basil leaves, tightly packed
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- PESTO CHEESE DIP:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup Basil Pesto
- Crackers, bagel chips, or tortilla chips
- Combine all the ingredients for the Basil Pesto in a blender and process on high speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days.
- PESTO CHEESE DIP: Place the cream cheese on a decorative microwave-proof plate, and microwave it, uncovered, on high until it begins to melt slightly, about 15 seconds.
- Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the cream cheese from the microwave and spoon the Basil Pesto evenly over it.
- Return plate to the microwave and cook, uncovered, on high until the pesto is just warm but still thick, 5 to 10 seconds.
- Remove the dip from the microwave and serve with crackers or chips of your choice.
- Yield: 6 to 10 servings