OK, anyone can chime in, but chefs have time/speed constraints that a home chef doesn't, so I'm particularly expecting a solution to my question from you. Don't disappoint me, please. Oh if only I'd had an Italian grandmother... As it is, I'm teaching my Italian DIL a lot of Italian dishes. The other day, making pesto, it took only a few minutes to toast the pine nuts and prep and mince the garlic and pignoli in the processor. I didn't grate the cheese as this pesto is destined for the freezer and will go in later. BUT: it took FOREVER to clean the 3 bunches of basil and then pluck off the leaves to eliminate having the stems in the pesto. I then wrapped the leaves in paper towels to remove excess water. Is there a quicker way to do this? Am I being too compulsive in eliminating ALL the stems? Should I just get rid of the really thick ones and chop up the rest with the leaves? (I've seen instructions to use only the smallest tender leaves, but at $1/bunch, I'm compromising.) I can't believe that in a busy kitchen they take this long to prepare the basil leaves!