Servings: 8 Prep: 20 min Cook: 0 min Total: 20 min
Pesto (a word stemming from the Italian word for “pounded”) is that bright green paste-like stuff that tastes great on pretty much everything. It’s up there with bacon and Heinz Ketchup, in terms of a perfect flavor. It’s a very traditional sauce originating in Northern Italy. It’s basically a mixture of basil, pine nuts and cheese, but the combination is OH so much more than the sum of its parts!
This particular recipe makes about a cup’s worth of bright, vibrant, garlicky goodness. It’s not uncommon for me to throw a few chili flakes in there … I like that little bit of zap!
I’m counting each serving as two tablespoons (for a total of 8 servings). I tend to make this in large batches, then divide it into little mason jars topped with a layer of extra virgin olive oil. I refrigerate one and freeze the others. I add pesto to A LOT of things, from spreads on sandwiches, to using as a dip, to a pesto cream sauce, or as layers within a green lasagna. Try carefully rubbing it under the skin of a whole chicken, then roasting it. YUM!!!
This sauce is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, but this recipe is for a food processor (’cause it’s what I have). To do it the old-school way … start with the salt and garlic in a mortar and move the pestle around in a circular fashion. After a paste has been formed, add the basil and lemon juice. Pound. Then, add the oil, and continue pounding. Finally, add the cheese and toasted pine nuts! Pound to consistency and adjust seasoning.
It’s really one of those perfect foods …
- 3 each garlic cloves diced
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups packed cleaned and dried fresh basil leaves (about a large bunch's worth)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1/4 cup parmesan (reggiano) cheese grated
- 1/4 cup pecorino (romano) cheese grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add the garlic, salt and half of the olive oil to a food processor, with a sharp blade.
- Pulse the processor and blend for 30 seconds.
- Add the basil and lemon juice, then pulse for a further 30 seconds.
- Add the pine nuts and cheeses and then pulse to your desired consistency. If it's too thick, add more olive oil to adjust the consistency. I tend to like mine a bit on the paste-y rough side, but some like it smooth and saucy.
- Use immediately or store covered with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil. This will help prevent the pesto from turning brown and will allow it to last longer in the fridge.
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