Pesto is a wonderful fresh herb sauce from the coast of Italy in Genoa in Liguria. There the Genoans live on steep Pine hillsides with lots of herbs growing but little else historically. The fishermen sold most of their catch to nearby towns for a living and were left with little else. Using the best ingredients around they invented the dish and the rest is history. Tangy garlic, toasted nuts , aromatic basil deliciousness. Pesto is wonderful refreshing summery dish that screams fresh and light and its great hot or cold or at any temperature! Its a great way to use up some fresh herbs and stores great in the fridge or freezer so you can always make it ahead of time and use it for quick dishes when you are busy. Pesto is made loosely as follows, nothing has to be exact, use whatever you like and tweak the flavor with more salt and garlic as you prefer. I make pesto pasta like this;
- Basil – washed and dried
- Nuts – 1/2 Cup – Pine or pistachios, almonds, walnuts, or whatever you prefer
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Parsley (optional)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – The good stuff
- Parmesan cheese – 1/3 cup grated
- Toast the nuts lightly in oven or tossed in a skillet until browned
In a blender combine the basil, half of the nuts, garlic, parsley (if you are using it), and a splash of the olive oil to begin with. Pulse the ingredients to a semi smooth consistency adding a few more tablespoons of the olive oil in a slow drizzle until you get a desired texture. Add the rest of the nuts and pulse until somewhat blended but still rough enough to see some of the pieces of the nuts for some texture.
Make some pasta and drain the noodles from the water. Mix together the noodles with about 1/3 cup of the pesto, half of the parmesan cheese, and a splash more olive oil if the mix is too thick.
*Optional – Some people add a splash of heavy cream instead of olive oil to make creamy pesto variation.*
When combined, plate the pasta and top with the remaining cheese. Buon Appetito!