Pesto is an easy to prepare and versatile sauce originated in the Liguria region (coastal region of north-western Italy). It takes its name from how it used to be prepared by grounding all the ingredients with a pestle (pestello) and a mortar (mortaio). Now a days many cooks prefer to prepare it in a food processor or a blender in order to speed the preparation time. Keep in mind that the flavor and consistency will change depending on what method is used. When using a food processor or blender the consistency of the sauce is smooth with an evolving flavor. The mortar will produce a coarse pesto with a flavor of fresh basil leaves. Pesto can be served over pasta or pizza, fluffed into hot rice, baked with chicken or fish. Check pesto recipe ideas in this blog.
This recipe does not include Parmesan cheese because pesto freezes better without it. Parmesan cheese can be added later when you are ready to use the pesto. When I prepare pesto I usually buy 2 pounds of basil; this way I can freeze it and use it at a later time (making food preparation easier specially if I am rushed with time). When freezing or refrigerating it I recommend you use glass containers and only fill it 3/4 of the way with the pesto. It is important that you film the top with 1/8 of an inch olive oil to prevent browning.
Note: After each use if any pesto is left in the container, clean the sides of the container with a paper towel and add a thin film of oil on top.
- 4 oz. basil leaves
- 2 oz. walnuts
- 1 oz. pine nuts
- .5 oz. garlic cloves
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pick the basil leaves from the steams and let them rinse in plenty of water for 15 minutes.
- Move the leaves to a container, add fresh water and let them rinse for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the water from the basil leaves using a salad spinner.
- Peal the garlic cloves, wash, dry and slice.
- In a food processor bowl add the extra virgin olive oil, salt and garlic.
- Add half of the basil leaves and start mixing.
- Add the remaining basil leaves and the nuts; mix for 1 minute or until the mixture has your desired texture.
- Sauce is ready to be used.
Did you make this recipe?