The Perfect Basil Pesto Recipe
Homemade pesto is the best way to enjoy the abundance of fresh basil at the peak of summer. This basil pesto recipe is incredibly simple to make and is a delicious sauce that is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite pasta. The most crucial detail to achieving the perfect basil pesto is to use fresh basil. Don't settle for dried basil unless you like the flavor of grass. I grew the basil used in this pesto recipe myself, but you can also purchase fresh basil from your local farmer's market or supermarket.
The other key ingredients to making the perfect basil pesto are pine nuts, fresh garlic, parmigiano reggiano cheese, and a high quality extra virgin olive oil. If you can't find pine nuts you can substitute walnuts instead. But for the sake of all the grandmothers in Italy, please use real parmigiano reggiano cheese and the highest quality extra virgin olive oil you can afford! The higher the quality of your ingredients, the better your basil pesto will taste. Don't use that garbage pre-grated Kraft parmesean cheese in a jar that you used to eat as a child or a low quality olive oil, as it will defeat the purpose of making basil pesto from scratch. Once you are armed with the freshest, top-notch ingredients you can get your hands on, you'll be ready to make the best basil pesto sauce you have ever tasted.
Mortar and Pestle or Food Processor / Blender
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic (peeled)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
Kosher salt to taste
1. Take a piece of your parmigiano reggiano cheese and grate it until you have 1/4 cup.
2. Basil pesto is traditionally made using a Mortar and Pestle, hence the name "Pesto," but I used a hand stick blender instead since I don't currently own a mortar and pestle (wtf? I know). You can also use a food processor instead.
Put the basil leaves, garlic clove, and pine nuts in your mortar and pestle or food processor. Lightly blend the ingredients together.
3. Next, begin to slowly drizzle in the olive oil while simaltaneously blending.
4. Finally, add the grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, a little bit at a time until the mixture forms a nice thick paste. Finish with a generous pinch of kosher salt, and give it a final mix.
That's it, you're done! Now dip your finger into the pesto and taste it. If it doesn't taste extremely delicious you may need to add a little more salt. Once you add the pesto to pasta, it'll taste much less salty, so it's best to make your pesto on the slightly salty side.
Add the pesto to some freshly cooked pasta, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and grate some fresh parmigiano reggiano cheese on top. Buon Appetito!