Basil Pesto is a classic Italian sauce that is traditionally made by pounding/grounding the ingredients like fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic & olive oil in a mortar using circular motion of the pestle and finally adding shredded cheese (parmigiano reggiano) to the ground paste. But now a days many use food processors, mixers to quicken the process as I did for this recipe. I find Pesto quite similar to our Indian Green chutney which we prepare using Mint & Coriander, green chilies. This Pesto can be served tossed with cooked pasta or used as spread for sandwiches and rolls.
Basil Pesto has a really nice refreshing green color that is very soothing to the eyes and the aroma due to the to amalgamation of all these ingredients is just divine. Pesto can be preserved for days in refrigerator. Save it in a air tight container/jar and top it with a layer of olive oil which will help to preserve this pesto for longer period.
Now to the recipe..
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
¼ cup of pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of half lemon
½ cup of shredded cheese called Parmigiano Reggiano
¼ cup of Olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Roast the pine nuts on low flame till they slightly brown. Nuts have a natural tendency to secret oil so when we roast them they will release oil which helps during pesto preparation.
In a food processor/mixer add the basil leaves, garlic, roasted pine nuts, lemon juice, salt & pepper & grind to a rough paste. Now slowly add, Olive oil some at a time & keep blending till you get a smooth paste & desired consistency of the sauce. Ensure to keep the consistency thick & not too runny else the sauce wont cling to your pasta. Now, empty the pesto into a bowl & add parmigiano reggiano, mix well.
- If you want to prepare pesto for storing, keep consistency slightly thick & instead add a layer of olive oil on top before closing the jar & refrigerating it. This will help to preserve the pesto for longer.
- Don't add too much of garlic as that will over power the pesto flavor. I have used 2 medium sized garlic cloves.
- For Pesto, parmigiano reggiano cheese works best as it has a nutty texture and flavor, but you can try adding any cheese you have available. However that will alter the taste slightly. You can also avoid cheese if you like. The pesto will still taste great.
That's it, our Basil Pesto is ready, toss it with your cooked pasta or use it as a spread for your sandwiches and rolls. Enjoy!!