How to make PESTO (recipe)

Everyone in my family loves food. My grandmother worked as a cook at a hospital, and passed  the love for food to my mother, although they have different taste. My mother and her boyfriend go on “food trips” like I like to call them – basically they travel the world and eat at the most prestigious restaurants there are (mostly Michelin starred ones, but not only). They both worked hard (and still do) in their life, and they choose to enjoy experiences rather than buy an exaggerated amount of material things just to prove something. And I admire them for that!

We love Italian food (my mother’s boyfriend is Italian, so it would be weird not to)! For me, it’s the combination of simplicity and flavour that combines so well in Italian cuisine. A very easy, yet delicious food of theirs is pesto, a sauce you can put on pasta, bread or just about anything! Whenever S. and I are too tired to cook, we throw some pasta in boiling water and then mix it with previously made/bought pesto (store bought is not so great, but when you’re hungry, anything goes!) and dinner is served.

How to make pesto

My grandmother’s garden has never been greener and more bountiful than now, and we were surprised at how much basil she had this season. My mother and I quickly decided to make the best of it and make some pesto.

How to make pesto The “younger” (read: smaller) the leaves are, the better! Give the leaves a wash and let them dry COMPLETELY before preparing the sauce. Meanwhile, clean some jars you will use, but aim for smaller ones.IMG_0342 IMG_0355

The star of this recipe is basil, but salt, olive oil, pine nuts and cheese will help bring its flavour to the next level. For a vero pesto recipe, use both pecorino and parmesan grated cheese, and please try to find a high quality brand, and avoid pre-grated cheese. When it comes to garlic, don’t go over the top, especially if you’re not a big fan. It’s best to put a smaller amount at first and add in afterwards if you think it’s the case.

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The magic of modern appliances makes this recipe even easier: just pop everything into a blender (work in batches if you are preparing bigger quantities), work quickly, and do not let the blender get too warm or it will brown the pesto (oxidation).

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That’s it! Pour the sauce into small jars, and (optional) add a splash of extra olive oil on top before putting on the lid. The sauce preserves very well in the freezer. Just remember to mix before you use it, and don’t let it sit more than two days in the fridge or, again, the sauce will brown. But it will still taste good, though!

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We had this recipe as a starting point. We ended up having 200g basil leaves, which technically means 4 portions. For me, a good portion of pesto comes from 100g of basil, though. Depending on how much you want to make, adjust the measurements below.

 

Pesto sauce

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 100g basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 12 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons pecorino cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • a grain of salt

Instructions

  1. Wash basil leaves and let dry completely.
  2. Prepare about 3-4 small jars.
  3. Grate the cheese.
  4. Add everything to a blender. Work in batches if neccessary, but respect the ratio basil-other ingredients.
  5. Work fast, so that the blender doesn't heat up and brown the sauce.
  6. Pour into jars and (optional) pour an extra dash of olive oil on top. Preserve in freezer, but make sure to mix the sauce before consuming.
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Have you ever made pesto, or have you tried it? If you have a different way to do it or you add other ingredients, I would love to read them in the comments below! Hope you enjoy this recipe and it will inspire you to make a fresh plate of pesto pasta, presto! Yum!

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