Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World. -Christopher Columbus
Pesto is a sauce of the Old World. It is also simplicity at its best. Its name comes from the method used to prepare it: by pounding using a mortar and pestle. Okay, so perhaps the use of a mortar and pestle does not exactly conjure up the notion of simplicity when we can use a blender instead. Which ever method you use, 4 ingredients later, you end up with Italy’s most prized sauce.
The classic basil pesto recipe calls for 4 main ingredients: basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. In my version, I leave out the cheese cause one kiddo does not like it. The rest of us add it later on. Without the cheese, it also becomes a great vegan alternative to the classic; it tastes just as great!
A meal in an instant, pesto pasta.
Freshly cut basil leaves waiting to be turned into something glorious.
Classic Basil Pesto
(fills a 120 mL jar)
- 120 g freshly cut basil leaves (This is about 5 cups gently packed leaves.)
- 1-2 garlic cloves (about 7 g total)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup (60 g) freshly and finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or omit for vegan version)
- Combine all the ingredients except the cheese in a blender and blend to a purée. Mix in the cheese (not done in my photos above).
- When in contact with air, pesto will darken in colour but no worries, it will still taste the same. It keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week. Be sure to pour a little olive oil over the top surface.