A couple of things about pesto:
- Basil pesto is one of my all time favorite things in the whole world. I could eat it by the spoonful, although I prefer to spoon generous amounts of it over pasta.
- Homemade pesto is better than store-bought (although I’ve tasted a few brands that come close)
- Pesto is one of the easiest things to make….ever.
- Unless you like serious manual labor via a mortar and pestle, you really should own a food processor to make this.
- Pesto keeps in the fridge for weeks (with a thin layer of olive oil over the top) or better yet, frozen in cubes or small zipper plastic bags.
- Pesto can be expensive to make, especially if you are using good quality EVOO, Parmigiana-Reggiano. And pine nuts, well there’s just no way around it, they’re not cheap! Having fresh basil in your garden can save you a little money. Just keep in mind that you use it sparingly. Two cups of pesto will go a long long way.
- Feel free to substitute walnuts for the pine nuts. In fact the recipe on which mine is based calls for walnuts. I find them to be a bit too prominent, so I have substituted pine nuts.
I could continue, but I’m sensing you would rather just get on to the recipe. Also, I need to get moving and pack for our “final hurrah” at the lake house. Bidding you adieu and happy cooking!
Ultimate Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves
4 medium-size cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup pine nuts
1 cup best-quality olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (preferably imported)
¼ cup grated Romano or Asiago cheese
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Process the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, pour in the oil in a thin, steady stream.
Add the cheeses, a big pinch of salt and a liberal grinding of pepper. Process briefly to combine. If not using immediately, place in a container and cover with a very thin layer of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate. For freezing, place in quart-size zip-close bags (be sure to squeeze out all the air). Or…alternatively, make a big batch and freeze in ice cube trays. Transfer frozen pesto cubes to a freezer-grade zip-close bag and store in freezer until ready to use.
Yields: 2 cups (enough to coat 2 pounds of pasta)