As soon as you walk into our garden you smell the sweet basil, and it just brings a smile to your face. So now that our plants are thriving I decided to pick a bunch of leaves and make pesto.
I have a great recipe from my friend Alessandra, who is from Viterbo, Italy. It’s your classic basil pesto with a LOT of garlic. She tosses it with pasta, and that’s what we did, too.
I find that this makes just enough to mix with a pound of pasta and have a little left over to spread on a grilled veggie sandwich.
Pesto alla Genovese for 4
2 cups of fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
5 garlic cloves, peeled (Yup, that’s 5.)
2 tablespoons of Pecorino cheese
4 tablespoons of Parmigiano cheese (or use all parmigiano)
Olive oil (maybe 1/3 cup?)
Salt to taste
Toss basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, a pinch of salt and cheese in a food processor or blender.
Add olive oil and pulse a few times until blended. At this point you’ll want to taste it and make sure the texture is smooth and moist. If it’s too dry, add more oil and pulse again.
That’s it. You’re done. Pesto is ridiculously easy to make. You don’t even have to cook it. Just toss it with cooked penne (I like Barilla Plus) and top with a little more cheese.
*Pesto freezing tip: If you want to save some pesto to drop into sauces or spread on sandwiches later, prepare the pesto without the cheese, and freeze it in an ice cube tray. When you’re ready to use, thaw a couple cubes and mix in the cheese.