Pesto

Read the authentic Italian pesto recipe and you’ll see it’s really easy to prepare. Once you try
and you may never buy the jarred stuff again – just like me. The delightful combination of
flavors of the homemade pesto is incomparable to shop-bought. And it’s not only the flavors
but also that you know what kind of ingredients you used, and you can flavor it to your own
taste.

To make pesto with hand-held blender, blender or food processor is an even easier way than
to follow the recipe I shared below. The original recipe says to use marble mortar, as for my
part, I used a wood one. It doesn’t matter which method you choose to prepare your pesto – a
modern or a traditional one – anyway you need a device to grind the ingredients. Please note –
do not grind it too thoroughly, as we don’t aim to get a homogeneous sauce.

The original recipe calls for Parmesan Cheese which refers to Parmiggiano Reggiano or Grana
Padano. You can buy them almost anywhere you shop. I suggest you to buy a block of Parmesan
Cheese and grate it fresh. Rarely you can buy Pecorino, it is available mainly in hypermarkets and
cheese shops. It is made from sheep’s milk and as its taste is similar to Parmesan, you can also use it.
It’s essential you choose a strong, salty hard cheese. Pine nuts are also available at most of the large
shops, but in case you can’t get them, walnut is a common substitute for pine nuts – even according
to the original recipe.

Homemade Pesto recipe

    This amount of pesto is for 600 g pastry. It serves four as a main dish, and serves eight as an
    appetizer.

  1. Wash your basil leaves and dry them of excess water by placing them on a paper or canvas
    towel. Grate your hard cheese, crush garlic cloves with the flat of a knife to make it easier to
    mash it in the mortar.
  2. pesto
    Dry your basil leaves
  3. Put your dried basil leaves, garlic cloves into a mortar or a blender.
  4. pesto
    Basil leaves and garlic cloves
  5. Start “mashing” them.
  6. That’s the essence of the recipe, the word of “pesto” also refers to it,
    as Pesto comes from the verb ‘pestare’, which literally means to crush, to mash. Traditionally
    the pesto is prepared by crushing the ingredients in a mortar through a circular motion of a
    wooden pestle – make it gently, never too hard – Italians said it’s much about an emotional
    approach to food. Anyway, you will see the point from which you only gently stir and from
    which point you really mash the ingredients. Adjust salt to your liking, it enables flavors to
    compound. Remember the two types of cheese you’ll add following the further steps are too
    salty.

    In case you prepare your pesto with hand-held blender or a blender, you can put all the
    ingredients at first, to get a lumpish compound use Pulse button to mash the ingredients,
    avoid continuous mixing.

    pesto
    Basil leaves and garlic cloves after mashing
  7. When you get a lumpy and mushy compound, add pine nuts and continue mashing. Pine nuts
    will absorb most of the moisture content of basil leaves, and your mixture is getting more
    and more like a pesto.
  8. pesto
    Add pine nuts
  9. Add cheese and continue mashing. The only task is to compound your ingredients. You will
    get a dry compound which calls for some liquid.
  10. pesto
    There’s only the olive oil left
  11. And at last, add the golden extra-virgin olive oil to crown it all. Pour it into your pesto and stir
    thoroughly.
    pesto

Great ways to use up and serve Pesto

Italians use pesto as a kind of sauce. Pesto pasta is the most popular dish made with pesto. It’s
a simple and perfect dish. Another widespread use of pesto is to use it up as an ingredient of
minestrone soup (Italian vegetable soup), to which Italians always add a bit of pesto. You can
also use pesto to soak meat before grilling.

spagetti pesto

If you make the effort to prepare a homemade pesto, it is worth it to make fresh. As any other
food, pesto can also be preserved. You can simply frost it or put it into jars. In the last
mentioned case you have to conserve it somehow – e.g. pour olive oil about 10 mm thick on
its top, or sterilize it in hot water, or you may add some preservative. I need to note, I’ve
never tried to preserve pesto, these tips I shared I had read on Italian blogs. My advice is you
should eat it fresh, it’s so delicious that I’m sure it won’t last long!

pesto

Pesto

Balazs
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoons pine nuts
  • salt

Instructions
 

  • Wash your basil leaves and dry them of excess water by placing them on a paper or canvas towel. Grate your hard cheese, crush garlic cloves with the flat of a knife to make it easier to mash it in the mortar.
  • Put your dried basil leaves, garlic cloves into a mortar or a blender.
  • Start “mashing” them.
  • When you get a lumpy and mushy compound, add pine nuts and continue mashing. Pine nuts will absorb most of the moisture content of basil leaves, and your mixture is getting more and more like a pesto.
  • Add cheese and continue mashing. The only task is to compound your ingredients. You will get a dry compound which calls for some liquid.
  • And at last, add the golden extra-virgin olive oil to crown it all. Pour it into your pesto and stir thoroughly.

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