The most famous product of Genova, my hometown, is pesto. A rich sauce made of pine nuts, basil and cheese, simple but delicious. It goes well with pasta, but also as a topping for fish and vegetables. Many argue on what the original pesto recipe is, I'm just going to give you the one my grandma taught me.
NOTE: if we really want to get technical, true pesto is made with a mortar. I tried once. Not the most fun. So instead of that, you will only need a blender for this recipe, no pans or pots required.
Ingredients for 4
- 50g basil leaves
- 15g pine nuts
- 70g grated Pecorino and Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves
- 100g olive oil
- rock salt
Of course the quality of the ingredients is crucial when you make pesto, but what really makes the difference is the order in which you blend them together.
1. In your blender put first the rock salt and the garlic, already cut in half. Let them mix until they become an even pulp. Pesto can also be made without garlic, so if you don't like it very much or you just want a lighter version, go straight to passage 2.
2. Time to put the pine nuts in! Do it one handful at the time and save some for later, because you might need them to adjust the sauce consistency. If you like, you can add also some regular nuts.
3. After the pine nuts, it's time for the cheese. Grate Parmesan and Pecorino coarsley and add them just a little at the time, saving some as you did with pine nuts. Remember these are both very salty kinds of cheese, so take it easy at first.
4. Finally, the basil comes in. Wash the leaves delicately and try to use the softest you can find. Don't put the stems in. As with the other ingredients, put the leaves in a few at the time and save some for later.
5. Your pesto should start shaping right now. It's time for the last ingredient, the olive oil. If you have one of those blenders which opens on top while they mix, pour the oil through there. Slowly.
6. When every ingredient is in place, taste the pesto. It's possible you will have to adjust it. If it's too salty, add pine nuts and oil. If it's not salty enough, add cheese and basil. Continue until you are satisfied with the way it tastes.
7. To conserve the pesto, transfer it into a clean jar and cover it with a layer of olive oil. You can keep it in you refrigerator for more or less a week.