makes 1lt of pesto
- 1 kg fresh basil leaves
- 120g toasted pine nuts
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 400g grated Pecorino cheese
- 500ml olive oil
- Coarse salt
- Black pepper
- 150g grated Parmesan cheese
- Blend the garlic and 80% of the pine nuts until a fine puree is achieved. Add a pinch of salt for abrasion as needed, and a dash of water.
- Systematically add the basil in small batches and pulse to break down the leaves. Add the remaining pine nuts with the last handful of basil and blend until all is finely chopped.
- Once finely chopped and an even texture is achieved, add approx 100ml of olive oil whilst continuing to blend.
- Now pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and fold in the Pecorino cheese and remaining olive oil. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
- The grated Parmesan can be added to the basil pesto, or reserved as a finishing touch on a bowl of spaghetti al pesto.
(images and recipe courtesy of Culinary Table Restaurant and Deli)
- Freeze pine nuts raw to keep fresh and toast as needed. Do not keep at room temperature as the oil inside the nut will go rancid, affecting the taste.
- To keep your pesto fresh for longer periods (max 2 weeks), store in a glass jar with a ½cm layer of olive oil over the surface. This will help prevent the pesto from oxidizing.
- When sorting basil for your pesto, preference should be given to the youngest and freshest leaves. Remove older, tougher leaves, seedpods and any thick stalks.
- Only use freshly grated Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses; whether you use Grana Padano or Parmegiano Reggiano is up to you.