Pesto

Pesto
Staff Writer
Basil

Stock.XCHNG/michaelaw

Basil

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.

8
Servings
172
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Notes

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.

Ingredients

  • 2  Cups  moderately well-packed fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch basil), stemmed
  • 1/2  Cup  olive oil
  • cloves garlic
  • 1/2  Cup  grated Parmesan
  • 2  Tablespoons  butter, softened

Directions

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.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
16g
23%
Saturated Fat
3g
13%
Cholesterol
11mg
4%
Carbohydrate, by difference
4g
3%
Protein
4g
9%
Vitamin A, RAE
152µg
22%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
9mg
12%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
217µg
100%
Calcium, Ca
227mg
23%
Choline, total
8mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
1g
4%
Folate, total
35µg
9%
Iron, Fe
2mg
11%
Magnesium, Mg
37mg
12%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Phosphorus, P
119mg
17%
Selenium, Se
2µg
4%
Sodium, Na
220mg
15%
Water
52g
2%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

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.

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.