Makes about 1 cup.
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Dip the basil into the boiling water for 15 seconds, dip out with a strainer, and plunge into the cold water. Drain and dry the basil thoroughly with paper towels.
Pack basil in a blender and add the olive oil. Puree until the basil is very fine and the oil is bright green. Strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth set over a bowl to slowly drain.
Special Tip: To make oil flavored with pureed basil, first wash the basil, drain in a colander and dry thoroughly in a salad spinner. Puree the leaves in a blender with an equal volume of pure, light bodied olive oil. To infuse extra-virgin olive oil with stronger flavorings, either grind dry basil or chop fresh basil and cover with 6 to 8 times their volume of extra virgin olive oil. Set the oil in a very warm spot for 3 to 4 hours (over an oven pilot or near a very low flame). Or heat the oil over a low flame until it is distinctly warm to the touch, pour it over the flavoring and let it stand at room temperature 3 to 4 hours before use.