Friday, October 9, 2009

A Perfect Pesto

Pesto is one of those perfect foods - its super easy to make, its gorgeous and its absolutely delicious! It can be used on pretty much everything from pasta and sandwiches to veggies and eggs and many more. The Ligurian region of Italy, and Genoa in particular, claim pesto as their creation, but it has been used in one form or another through out Italy and the Mediterranean for centuries. Traditionally, of course, its a pasta sauce and is most commonly served on pasta with green beans and potatoes tossed in. The best version I have ever had was at a Ristorante Mira in Sestri Levante, Liguria, Italy. They served their version of the concoction on broad lasagna style noodles that were super thin and light as air. It was amazing.

The name Pesto comes from the Italian for Paste, but in todays culinary vernacular it refers to a thick sauce made from a fresh herb blended with a nut of some sort. There are as many variations out there as there are cooks to think them up. This is my version of the classic basil and pine nut pesto. Its super quick and easy to make!

1 Large bunch of fresh basil, leaves only
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup lightly packed freshly grated parmesian cheese
1 large garlic clove
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Does not get easier than that. The most important thing here is the quality of the ingredients like the oil, basil and parm. Do not skimp here - its a raw sauce.

This sauce freezes really well too, just add a thin layer of the Olive oil on top to prevent freezer burn.

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