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A basil sauce with olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.
For a born and bred Ligurian as I am, small-leaf Ligurian basil, grown in a tiny herb garden where a strong sea breeze can sometimes blow, is undoubtedly the best, and only one worth using for making Pesto... However, having lived so many years far from Liguria, I have adapted to using different basil varieties, with larger leaves and a slightly minty aftertaste.
|50 leaves||fresh basil, loosely packed||26 g|
|1/4 cup||pine nuts||30 g|
|1/3 cup||Parmesan cheese, grated||18 g|
|1/4 cup||extra virgin olive oil||65 mL|
|1/2 tsp||salt, to be added when pouring over pasta||2 g|
Only the most tender basil leaves should be used for making Pesto, possibly picked before the plant starts to flower.
A blender or food processor will be very useful to make the sauce. A marble mortar and a wooden pestle would be even better, because the metal blades of the blender do affect the taste of the basil, but it will take the cook with traditional utensils too much time to achieve the final result.
The pesto keeps up to 10 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. Remember to top up with olive oil every time you use it, to prevent oxidation.
It's so easy to make, and tasty!