Pesto

Staff Writer
Pesto
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
176
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients
Makes
1 1/3 cups

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
  • 4 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.

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.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
18g
28%
Saturated Fat
5g
24%
Cholesterol
12mg
4%
Protein
3g
6%
Carbs
0.9g
0.3%
Vitamin A
55µg
6%
Vitamin C
2mg
3%
Vitamin E
2mg
10%
Vitamin K
33µg
42%
Calcium
98mg
10%
Fiber
0.1g
0.5%
Folate (food)
5µg
N/A
Folate equivalent (total)
5µg
1%
Iron
0.3mg
1.9%
Magnesium
7mg
2%
Monounsaturated
11g
N/A
Phosphorus
56mg
8%
Polyunsaturated
2g
N/A
Potassium
31mg
1%
Sodium
98mg
4%
Trans
0.1g
N/A
Zinc
0.3mg
1.8%