Looking for an easy sauce that won’t require hours of slaving over a hot stove, want to ditch your normal marinara sauce for something bold with lots of flavor, that will take under ten minutes to make using all fresh ingredients.
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and consists of garlic, basil, and pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Fiore Sardo. The name “pesto” is from the Genoese word pestâ , which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and wooden pestle. The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar.
Now in ancient Roman times they ate a paste called moretum, made by crushing cheese, garlic and herbs together. The Ligurians around Genoa adapted this sauce combing basil, crushed garlic, grated hard cheese, and pine nuts with a little olive oil to form pesto. In French Provence, the dish evolved into modern pistou, that combined basil, parsley, crushed garlic, and grated cheese. Pine nuts are not included.
In 1944, The New York Times mentioned an imported canned pesto paste. In 1946, Sunset magazine published a pesto recipe by Angelo Pellegrini. Pesto did not become popular in North America until the 1980s and 1990s.
Pesto is one of Italy’s most prized sauces, this fragrant, treasure features the star of Italian herbs “basil”. Perfect for putting into your favorite recipes with its bold flavor, pesto is more than just a pasta sauce.
It’s easy to make a great pesto, for some using a mortar and pestle is crucial as mashing the ingredients into pesto gives it a more rustic look. However in today’s kitchen a mortar and pestle are not common kitchen gadgets as most people have a blender or food processor.
Make too much pesto? No problem, just freeze it in freezer proof containers or ice cube trays.
The base recipe for Pesto sauce has also been adapted and taken on various changes. As some of you may not know pine nuts can run as high as $22.00 a pound, I’ve read many recipes will call for walnuts instead. Also Italian parsley and fresh lemons are also used. In my recipe I used both pine nuts and pistachio nuts and I really liked this combination. So use pine, walnut, pistachio, add parsley, arugula with the basil, this sauce really is a no brainer so get creative with your favorite ingredients.
4-5 cups fresh basil leaves; stems removed rinsed and lightly dried between paper towels
6-9 cloves of garlic. (use less if you don’t want a strong garlic taste)
Pulse using a food processor the garlic and about 1 tsp of good salt
- Toast nuts over med-high heat for about 3-5 minutes. watch carefully or they will burn or scorch in a matter of seconds.
While the nuts are cooling add basil leaves and give it 5-7 good pulses
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
Add cooled nuts and cheese and pulse again. you should have a thick paste.
1 to 1 1/2 cup olive oil use extra virgin olive oil, or a good mediterranean olive oil
Now while running on low slowly pour in olive oil, and watch your fragrant pesto come alive.
Salt & pepper to taste
Pesto should have a thick consistency and not runny.
You want a consistency similar to this.
Pesto should not be runny or have a soup like appearance.
Warm it up and pour over your favorite pasta.
In the U.S., pesto has become more than just a sauce for pasta, but an ingredient in many dishes. Here are a few examples of how to showcase pesto in your recipes.
Add to your Caprese salad.
Kick up your lasagna a notch by using pesto in place of marinara sauce.
Pizza with pesto is simply AMAZING!!!
Ditch the jar of mayo for pesto next time you make a killer sammich!
As you can see the possibilities are endless and my stomach is full!!!
My Disclosure Policy