Basil Pesto Recipe

Basil Pesto Recipe
Staff Writer
Basil Pesto
Allison Beck
Basil Pesto

Nothing screams summer to me more than a fragrant, freshly-made pesto. Nearly sick of this winter’s cold weather and snow, I’ve been craving this simple and delicious spread all week. I love serving it on a piece of toast, with some fresh mozzarella slices and a couple of chopped sundried tomatoes (I’ll choose tomatoes from the garden in the summer), or tossed with fresh fettuccine, baby arugula, and a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano for an easy weeknight dinner. It’s also really good in a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich.

Click here to see Recipe SWAT Team: Condiments

Ingredients

  • 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, cut into slices
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (also known as pignoli nuts)
  • Salt, to taste
  •  About 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

In a food processor, chop the basil leaves until in about ¼-inch pieces. Add the cheese, pine nuts, and a large pinch of salt. Pulse again until all the nuts and cheese are ground well. With the processor running, add the olive oil until the pesto is the consistency you prefer. (I like a thick pesto for spreading on sandwiches and toast, but I’ll add more oil to thin the pesto out for tossing with pasta.) Season to taste.

Basil Pesto Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Basil Pesto Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.

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