Monday, August 1, 2016

Fresh Basil Pesto

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy. Traditionally it consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep's milk). Pesto is traditionally prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. But now, food processors work really well to make the pesto. 

The basic ingredients of pesto are greens, nuts and an oil. The greens can range from basil to spinach to kale. The nuts used are either walnuts or peanuts or pine nuts. While olive oil is most commonly used oil, avocado oil or grapeseed oil are sometimes found in pesto. While I posted a Walnut basil pesto in the past, today it is time for a traditional pesto using basil leaves and pine nuts. I used this pesto across the board, from pizza to ravioli to these Cauliflower Steak. 

Over the weekend I went to the farmer's market and saw big bunches of basil all over. So I ended up buying a big bunch. Then, I HAD to make this big bottle full of basil pesto that would last me a few weeks. To simplify the process, I bought the roasted Pine Nuts from Trader Joe. While the unroasted work well too, I like the toasted flavor these nuts give to the pesto. Adding fresh basil, toasted pine along with olive oil and parmesan cheese gave me a wonderfully flavored pesto. The process just takes about 10 minutes and you can refrigerate the pesto with a thin layer of oil on top. It freezes very well too. 

Basil leaves 2 cups
Pine Nuts 1/4 cup
Garlic 1-2 cloves
Olive Oil 1/4 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Shredded Parmesan Cheese 2 tbsp


In a food processor add washed and dried basil leaves, chopped garlic and pine nuts. I used roasted nuts, but unroasted work well too. Then, add parmesan cheese and salt. Whip again and scrape down the pesto from the sides of the processor. 

Add olive oil as needed to whip to a smooth paste. Adjust salt and add cracked pepper if you like. Store in an airtight bottle and use as required. 

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