I'm a real snob when it comes to pesto — only fresh homemade, thank you very much and a strict no to anything coming from a jar.
Oddly enough, I haven’t posted my recipe for Classic Basil Pesto on TIY yet.
I wonder why.
I made Kale Pesto, Avocado Pesto, Avocado-Spinach Pesto, Radicchio Pesto but not Basil Pesto.
Weird things happen on this blog.
Pesto is a simple perfection, a combination of flavors that just can’t be beat.
When I make the first batch of pesto, I know that summer has begun.
It’s not the heat, the humidity, the smelly subway stations, or that I am constantly under attack by mosquitoes. No, it’s the intoxicating smell of freshly-made pesto that marks the beginning of summer for me.
I like to buy basil in bulk and I make pesto at least twice a week. I am not kidding.
There’s always a jar of fresh pesto in my fridge.
You don’t believe me, come see it for yourself!
The preparation of pesto is stepped in years of Italian tradition. It must be pounded with a marble pestle in a marble mortar.
As I don’t own a marble mortar and pestle, I use my food processor. Less traditional, but works like a charm.
This recipe was given to me like 10 years ago by the chef of a famous Italian restaurant in TriBeCa. It’s the best of the best. Trust me.
One of the secrets is adding a couple of tablespoons of hot water to ease the blending and to get that fantastic smooth and creamy consistency.
I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a whole lot of difference.
So without further ado, here’s my recipe for homemade basil pesto. Classic, simple, flavorful, and oh-so-delicious!
Classic Basil Pesto Print this recipe!
Note. Pesto will darken and brown quickly, but will still be tasty and fresh for several days. For best appearance, use it right away. If storing, store it in the smallest container possible and thoroughly press the pesto to eliminate air pockets. Pour a little olive oil over the surface, cover, and refrigerate for up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen for several months.
Makes about 1 cup
4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 gr basil leaves, washed and patted dry
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 heaping tablespoons pine nuts (or blanched almonds)
¾ cup / 5 oz / 140 gr grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup / 2 oz / 60 gr grated Pecorino cheese
1 large pinch coarse sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
In a blender or food processor (or if you have it a mortar and pestle) add garlic and pulse until creamed.
Add half of the basil and coarse sea salt, blend until finely chopped.
Add pine nuts, Pecorino cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Blend continuously until the ingredients are finely chopped.
Stop the blender, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the rest of the basil along with the one tablespoon of hot water.
Blend until a uniform paste has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until the pesto reaches a creamy consistency.
With the blender running, stream in the olive oil and continue blending until the olive oil is emulsified into the pesto and the sauce looks uniform.
One tablespoon yields 58 calories, 8 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein