Easy and Delicious Pesto

1 cup solidly packed fresh basil leaves (no stems)
1 bulb good garlic (firm, no damage), peeled and chopped
Good olive oil, as much as needed (see below)
1/2 cup roasted cashews
Powdered Reggiano parmesan cheese, as much as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Powder the cashews in a blender.  There should be no chunks.  Put into a mixing bowl.  Saute the garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil until it darkens a bit.  I know this is not traditional, but it takes the sharp edge off the garlic, and everyone I know prefers the sauteed garlic to the raw.  Put the basil leaves in a blender, add the garlic and its oil, and enough extra oil to make blending possible.  Add a bit at a time, using a rubber spatula to encourage the ingredients to blend.  Pour on top of the cashews.  Add parmesan cheese to taste.  Probably half a cup.  Mix thoroughly and taste.  Add salt and fresh finely ground pepper to taste.  Serve on hot pasta or as a spread for bread.  For an added extra twist, stir in a tablespoon of cream.  (An Italian friend, Alessandro Duina, tried this pesto, and asked what was in it.  When I told him about the cream, he cried, "That's not fair!  Anything tastes good with cream!")  I learned the cream trick from a French Restaurant I used to go to in Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s and early 1980s with an Arthur D. Little colleague, Victor Lewinson, where they served warm pesto with cream as a dip for warm bread.  Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the restaurant.