This approach makes pesto that's less grassy and intense than raw basil versions, with rounded, balanced flavor. It's good to use a mellow, mild olive oil here so it doesn't detract from the fresh herbs. We also prefer Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in pesto because it’s milder than super-sharp sheep’s-milk pecorino romano. If you don't care for the hot taste of raw garlic, you can take the edge off the cloves by blanching them along with the basil. We use sunflower seed kernels here because they are far less expensive than the pine nuts traditionally used, and their flavor is similarly rich and sweet. If you have pine nuts already on hand, feel free to use them instead.