- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (see note below)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 T pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife handle and peeled
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 T freshly grated Romano pecorino cheese
- 3 T butter, softened to room temperature
1. Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, and salt in the blender and mix at high speed. [We used our food processor.] Stop from time to time and scrape the ingredients down towards the bottom of the blender cup with a rubber spatula.
2. When the ingredients are evenly blended, pour into a bowl and beat in the two grated cheeses by hand. (This is not much work, and it results in more interesting texture and better flavor than you get when you mix in the cheese in the blender.) When the cheese has been evenly incorporated into the other ingredients, beat in the softened butter.
3. Before spooning the pesto over pasta, add to it a tablespoon or so of the hot water in which the pasta has boiled.
Note: The quantity of basil in more recipes is given in terms of whole leaves. American basil, however, varies greatly in leaf sizes. There are small, medium, and very large leaves, and they all pack differently in the measuring cup. For the sake of accurate measurement, I suggest that you tear all but the tiniest leaves into two or more small pieces. Be gentle, so as not to crush the basil. This would discolor it and waste the first, fresh droplets of juice.
From The Classic Italian Cookbook
Gray: Wow, this was amazing. I can’t believe that I’ve never made pesto. It is super easy and the flavor of fresh pesto is just amazing. I toasted the pine nuts slightly before making it. Maybe that is not traditional or a no-no, but we always like the toasted flavor so I tried it anyway. This is definitely one we’ll be making again.
Katie: This was super delicious and I don’t know why we’ve never made pesto before. The consistency was just perfect and it really did coat the pasta nicely! We went with fettuccine, which seemed to be just right. I cannot wait to make pasta with pesto again. We now need to plant our entire garden with basil plants just so we have more basil leaves! Yum!