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Photo: annalibera on Flickr

Chef, cookbook author, restaurateur, and winemaker—there’s not a lot of the Napa Valley culinary lifestyle scene untouched by Michael Chiarello. He ties together his varied interests in a lifestyle brand called NapaStyle. From his iconic Tra Vigne restaurant in the 1980s to his current Bottega, he has helped define wine country cuisine.

Today, Chiarello shares a pesto recipe with blanched basil that makes a colorful sidekick to a challenging yet highly rewarding pesto arancini recipe that happens to be a great way to put leftover risotto to use. Take it away, Chef…

This pesto recipe leads to a pesto that is vibrant in color as well as flavor. Powdered vitamin C—also called ascorbic acid—is my secret for keeping pesto a fresh, appetizing green. The herbs go in boiling water and then straight into an ice bath, so I like to use a large sieve or colander to transfer all the herbs in one smooth move. Pesto freezes well, so when basil is abundant, make a few batches to keep in your freezer for up to a month.