13 Mar PESTO
13 March 2023
PREP. TIME: 15 MIN - SERVES: 4
Who can resist the aroma of pesto? It just smells of Summer.
Once you have made your own version of this classic Ligurian sauce you will never happily buy a commercial brand again.
Use pesto to dress fine pasta strands or Troffie, be tantalised when you put a dollop in the bottom of your bowl of minestrone or beef stew or simply soak it up with hot from the oven focaccia and eat it with confit tomatoes.
If you have a mortar and pestle - you can make the pesto in that if it is large enough. A food processor does simplify the proceedings though. At the very least I like to grind the garlic with some salt with the mortar and pestle before adding them to the food processor, and also breaking down the pine nuts before they are added to the food processor. If you do not have a mortar and pestle both of these operations can be done on a chopping board with a knife.
60g Basil (1 - 2 bunches)
1 - 2 cloves garlic
1 - 2 tablespoons Pine Nuts
2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese or Grana Padano
Extra virgin olive oil
Chopping board and kitchen knife
Mortar and Pestle - optional
Food Processor - optional
Step 1 - Prepare the ingredients:
Wash the basil and remove the leaves from the coarser stalks - weigh them
Peel the garlic and pound it with the mortar and pestle to create a paste.
Heat the pine nuts in a small pan over gentle heat for 2 - 3 minutes - stirring until barely golden
Break the pine nuts down a little in the mortar and pestle with the garlic paste
Step 2 - Process
Place the garlic and pine nut mixture in the food processor and pulse once or twice.
Add the basil leaves, pulsing to combine.
Add a little olive oil to lubricate the leaves.
Add more oil to create a coarse puree - transfer the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the cheese and season with salt if necessary.
Add more olive oil to get the consistency you are after - maybe up to a cup full.
Step 3 - To Use
Toss the pesto through warm strands of trofie or fine pasta or linguine.
Be sure to use some of the cooking water so that you can extend the sauce and lubricate the pasta without adding alot more olive oil.
Step 4 - To Store
If you are not using the pesto straight away - transfer it to a clean glass jar, cover with oil and store in the fridge or freezer.
If well covered it will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
Pesto freezes very well and is a joy to discover in the depths of Winter!
Recipe by Elizabeth Peddey
May 6, 2016
August 23, 2021
March 21, 2020
September 7, 2021