Genoese pesto or pesto sauce is a condiment known throughout the world and I am always surprised when abroad I see jars of an unlikely green offered in supermarkets.
Making a good pesto is actually quite simple. And when I talk about a simple recipe I am referring to the preparation with the common blender, given that the marble mortar, except in Liguria, is not really in common use, and the preparation in this case requires time and a certain amount of manual skill.
While you read this recipe, do one thing right away: put the blender bowl in the freezer. This is one of the few secrets to making a good pesto. In fact, the biggest problem with using the blender is linked to the heat of the blades which oxidizes the basil leaves making them bitter. So when you blend, do it in spurts (4-5 seconds and then stop for a few seconds), not allowing the blades to overheat.
There are many recipes for making pesto. I’m writing you the one from my cooking class, really excellent.
- 80 grams of basil leaves (much better if the Ligurian type with narrow leaves)
- 1 clove of garlic (without core, chopped)
- 50 g pecorino
- 50 g parmesan
- 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (chopped)
- 1.5 dl of good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Walnuts (optional)
Clean the basil leaves and dry them well (without creasing them too much). Chop the garlic and pine nuts (toasted in the pan).
Blend the leaves with a pinch of salt, the pine nuts and the garlic. Add the oil and lastly the cheese.
I also add some previously chopped walnuts.
To store it in jars, the oil must always cover the pesto, not allowing the oil to oxidize it.
For the same reason, do not pour the pesto into the freshly drained pasta. Always let it cool a little before adding the sauce.
As you may have understood, making pesto is a tough fight against the oxidation of basil leaves. If everything goes well the result will be a light green pesto. If, however, you have done your own thing, black will have taken over. Good luck!