What's Cooking at the Genua's?

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Pesto #1: Basil Pesto

on August 2, 2010

Basil pesto is the most basic and traditional pesto. It is what most people think of when you mention pesto. The basil-based pesto was invented in Genoa, Italy. It is also sometimes called a Genovese sauce. It should be a beautiful bright green and the aroma is almost intoxicating. Just remember when adding the oil, add it slowly. This is so that the sauce is fully emulsified, meaning all the ingredients blend together in a thick, uniform consistency. There are also many types of basil out there in the markets today so be adventurous and try a few of them for their different flavors! And remember you will be using quite a bit in the recipe so if it’s on sale all the better!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves

¼ cup toasted pine nuts (pignoli)*

1-2 cloves garlic

½ teaspoon salt, plus a little more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus a little more to taste

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


DIRECTIONS:

1. In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper until finely chopped.

2. With the processor or blender still running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in the cheese. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.

Makes about 1 cup. The pesto can be made up to 2 days ahead.

*To toast pine nuts for pesto, bake them on a cookie sheet at 400ºF for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just keep an eye on them because they can burn very quickly!

**TIP** If using the pesto as a pasta sauce it must be the right consistency. So when your pasta is just about ready you can add a little bit of the pasta cooking liquid to the pest to get it a little thinner so it will coat the pasta. Just be careful you don’t add too much and make it a pesto soup!


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