- 2 Cups moderately well-packed fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch basil), stemmed
- 1/2 Cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
This Italian basil and garlic sauce is one of the greatest delicacies of all time. It is most often used as a sauce for pasta, but my favorite way to savor it is to spread it on lightly toasted French bread and eat it as an appetizer. Traditionally it is pounded in a mortar, but this blender method works just as well and it is a lot quicker. Many contemporary recipes call for the addition of pine nuts, but I find them superfluous and indistinguishable in pesto. The addition of butter, however, is pure magic.
Put the basil, olive oil, and garlic in the container of a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides as necessary.
Pour this mixture into a container and stir in the cheese. Stir in the soft butter and chill until ready to use. (The secret of a smooth pesto is to stir in the cheese and butter by hand — not machine.)
If you are going to use the pesto on pasta, then thin the pesto with a few tablespoons of boiling pasta water just before saucing the pasta. Pesto will keep for 1 month if covered with ¼ inch of olive oil and stored in the refrigerator.
Note: To prepare pesto for freezing, don't add the cheese or butter. Freeze the basil, olive oil, and garlic purée in a tightly covered container for up to 6 months. Alternatively, freeze in ice cube trays, then place the cubes in a Ziploc bag. When ready to use, thoroughly defrost, then stir in the cheese and butter.
Calories per serving:177 calories
Dietary restrictions:Low Carb, Low Sodium Sugar Conscious, Low Potassium, Kidney Friendly, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added
Have a question about nutritional data? Let us know.