I’m playing ketchup (lol) with posts today as we get ready to put the house back on the market. Ergo, “Wildcard Wednesday” is “Meals Monday” for this post. 🙂
A while back, I promised my readers a post with my pesto recipe. I’m here to deliver! This is a traditional Genovese basil-based Pesto sauce. My step father brought it over from Italy (he was born there) so it’s authentic. Also named after him here. His original Italian first name was Attilio.
Just a quick note before I get started: This recipe is going to make a large amount of pesto. A cup is usually plenty to do pasta for four people. Pesto keeps fairly well in the fridge (not indefinitely however), and it can be frozen with minimal loss of flavor. It defrosts fairly quick also.
Note this is also all U.S. measurements. Converting them to Metric equivalent can be done at this site or similar sites:
3 Cups of Fresh Basil
3/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup of Pine Nuts
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 Cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parm) cheese
3 Tablespoons of Romano, Pecorino, or more Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
All you need is a Cuisinart or similar food processor. Add everything in and blend well. The basil should be broken down to small, crumb sized pieces.
Alternatively, if you’re a fan of pine nuts, you can blend everything except the pine nuts, then add them to the food processor and give it 3 quick presses of the button to chop them up without breaking them down to tiny pieces. This gives the pesto a little more texture and makes the pine nut flavor a little more noticeable.
On the flip side, if you hate pine nuts, you can leave them out or substitute another nut for them. Walnuts are a common option in other recipes I’ve seen.
The most important thing I can add here is that pesto is a sauce that you add to food AFTER it’s cooked. If you cook it with the pasta, etc… you’ll lose much of the flavor. I can tell you first hand that it looses all visual appeal if you try to add it to vegetables while they’re grilling. WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE FOOD IS COOKED, then put it on top or mix it in.
Also, pasta with pesto added is how at least most Americans see this used. I can tell you that it goes well on top of grilled chicken and fresh steamed or grilled vegetables as well. I have no idea how traditional those uses are, BUT pesto is a fairly versatile sauce. Give yourself permission to experiment with it a little. I imagine it could go well over a milder flavored fish for example.
When my family makes the above recipe, we put the excess into seal-able containers that are about 1 cup in size, and store them in the freezer. When we’re ready to use more, we pull it out and set it on the counter. It will defrost in an hour and a half to two hours in my experience. DO NOT defrost using a microwave! It’ll do nasty things to the oil and cheese.
The recipe doubles nicely also if you want to store a large amount for future use.
LASTLY: As with ALL cooking, the quality of the ingredients makes a HUGE difference. Find the freshest basil you can find, make sure the olive oil IS Extra Virgin, not Walmart trash, there is a massive difference between authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Kraft Parm, etc…