Around this time of year I always crave a good pesto. It really works out well for me, since I have a jungle of basil growing on my back deck. I love serving it with crusty bread as a late night …
Around this time of year I always crave a good pesto. It really works out well for me, since I have a jungle of basil growing on my back deck. I love serving it with crusty bread as a late night snack, or atop some garden fresh veggies if I’m trying to keep it light. Toss it with your favorite pasta, fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes and you have a weeknight meal.
Pesto comes from the Italian word pestare, which means “to pound” or “to crush”, as pestos were traditionally made in a large mortar and pestle. (If you know anyone serious about their pesto, you’ll see them use this… and I’m convinced it tastes better the harder you work for it).
There’s walnut pesto and almond pesto, but traditional and popular basil pesto is called pesto alla genovese. I use a very high quality kitchen aid blender to make this, but food processors, mortar and pestles, or a regular knife will do just fine. Just mince, mince, mince away.
To make pesto alla genovese you will need:
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) aged parmesan or pecorino romano
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 4 heaping cups of basil leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Begin by cutting your parmesan into smaller chunks, and set aside. It is so quintessential that you are using quality cheese, olive oil, and fresh garlic. The quality of your ingredients truly will make all the difference in this simple dish. Add your pine nuts and pulse several times, until they are chopped small but not butter consistency. Add a pinch of salt, some pepper, and the basil leaves. Run until the basil leaves are finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil. Add in your grated parmesan cheese and pulse to mix. Add more kosher salt to taste (Diamond Crystal or Maldon Sea Salt flakes are great ones!)
If you are making by hand, finely grate parmesan and set aside. Chop your basil, garlic and pine nuts as fine as possible and place into a bowl. Drizzle slowly with olive oil while mixing it in. Next, add in your cheese and finish with salt to taste.
You’ll be making this simple summer pesto all summer long.