Do you have a favorite pasta sauce? I do. It's pesto. To my mind, the pure flavor of basil, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil & a bit of garlic and cheese makes it the perfect pasta sauce. These days there are so many things labeled "pesto" in cookbooks and at supermarkets, that I think we tend to forget the original Genoese version. The basil should be farmer's market or garden fresh, the extra virgin olive oil should be your favorite kind (I like Spanish) and the Parmesan should be grated by hand (the kind you find in a can doesn't work). I actually had to take measurements to provide you with a recipe, but I normally just eyeball it when I make this at home. I keep it on hand at all times because it's so delicious. Let me show you how easy it is to make.
- 2 packed cups fresh basil, washed and dried--organic of possible
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a garlic press
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts--almonds or walnuts can be substituted
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 big pinches of coarse kosher salt
- 1 pinch of freshly cracked pepper
Place your basil, nuts and garlic in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add your cheese, salt and pinch of pepper.
With the machine running, add your extra virgin olive oil until the mixture is smooth. This doesn't even take a minute.
This is your finished sauce. Bright green and pungent. You can use this right away or you can store it in the
refrigerator for a few days. If you're going to store it or use it in a few hours, I strongly suggest you put a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the sauce or it will turn a muddy brown color.
I always freeze mine to have on hand. Simply divide the sauce into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the cubes and store in a resealable freezer bag. One cube is enough for about 4 oz. of pasta. Some cooks will frown upon the fact that I add the cheese & then freeze the sauce, but I've been doing it this way for over a decade & it has always tasted good to me.
This favorite sauce of mine is suitable for so many types of pasta shapes. I prefer to have it on linguine or thin spaghetti, but I've been known to throw it on rotini, bucatini, orzo, farfalle, penne, orecchiette and even ravioli. Don't limit yourself to pasta though. Try it on boiled potatoes or perhaps some steamed asparagus. A few dollops of this on bruschetta or on a slice of pizza also works well. Enjoy it and Buon Appetito!