Anything Else Is Just Basil Sauce
Perhaps no single food has been more commonized by the foodie crazy than pesto. Once the purview of gourmet Italian chefs, now everyone from Walla Walla to Peoria is hitting the green.
But there’s still some old world skill necessary to make Pesto right. For an Irish-New Yorker, my mom can make a pesto as mean as any Sicilian grandma. I highlighted the ingredients above to draw attention to her two simple rules that many of these nuevo pesto chefs choose to ignore, at their own peril:
1- Only fresh basil. Bypass that crud they have in plastic containers at the grocery. Come fresh or don’t come at all. My mom won’t even make pesto until the summertime, when the best crop comes out.
2- Pine (pignoli) nuts are key. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise. Sure, I’ve had some decent “pesto” made with walnuts or no nuts at all, but that’s not pesto, it’s basil sauce.
The result is a rich, creamy concoction that I could eat with a spoon, although I try to resist the temptation to do so.
Mama Spiegel’s full recipe after the jump.
4 cloves garlic
2/3 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated parm cheese
1/3 pine nuts (pignoli)
1/2 cup olive oil
Put in blender or food processor and blend until creamy and smooth in texture.
– I usually make triple this recipe but don’t triple the garlic; 4 cloves is enough, since it won’t get cooked.
– You can freeze the pesto but if you’re going to do that, don’t add any cheese until you are ready to use after defrosting. Nadia at Cheeseaholics explains why freezing cheese is a sin.
Add to hot, drained pasta. Top with additional grated cheese, if desired.