Pesto comes from the Italian verb ‘Pestare’ which means to crush, which tells you everything you need to know – this green beauty needs to be prepared the traditional way in a pestle & mortar – sorry folks but you just won’t get the same result in a food processor! Italians put a lot of love & time into their food so you need to do the same for the best result!
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Tsp. Sea Salt Flakes (I use Maldon Flakes)
- A large bunch of Fresh Basil (about 1-2 big handfuls)
- 2-3 Tbsp. of Toasted Pinenuts
- 6 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese finely grated (an aged one of over 24 months is best)
- 3 Tbsp. Pecorino Sardo Cheese finely grated
- 70ml-100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Quickly rinse the Basil in a bowl of Ice-cold water and then pat dry on a tea towel. Peel the Garlic Cloves and add these to your pestle & mortar along with the Sea Salt Flakes and pound until they are crushed. Remove the Basil leaves from the stems and add a few leaves at a time and pound them along with the salty Garlic mix. Once the Basil Oils get released and all the leaves have been crushed into a thick paste add in the Toasted Pinenuts a little at a time and continue to pound it all together. At this stage it will become a little thick, but that’s ok keep going until they are all crushed. Next add in the grated parmesan a few Tablespoons at a time while you keep pounding it together. If it has become too thick just add a little drizzle of the Olive Oil to loosen up the mixture so you can pound it until it all comes together into a thick gloriously green paste. Finally add in the grated Pecorino Cheese, pound it together and then add in the remaining Olive Oil and give it a mix.
Serve this dreamy Pesto in a number of ways – stirred through warm Pasta, add a little to Focaccia dough to create a Pesto infused Bread, drizzle over a Tomato Salad or just simply use as a delicious Dip!
- Always rinse the Basil in Ice-cold water – this will ensure your leaves do not wilt and that your Pesto is a bright green colour.
- If you don’t have Toasted Pinenuts then just lightly toast them in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until they turn a golden-brown colour – allow them to cool before using in the Pesto.
- If you want to store the Pesto just place it in an airtight container and pour a thin layer of Olive Oil on the top of it. It will stay fresh for 2-3 days.