Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.

A Personal Recipe Archive

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Hannah's Pesto

Recipe Name: Hannah's Pesto

Notes: Pesto may very well be my favorite foodstuff. I've tried a number of recipes and what I've figured out is this: the thing that matters most for pesto is the quality of the ingredients - fresh, aromatic basil leaves, nice parmigiano-reggiano, and really fresh garlic. The other thing I've decided is that recipes that call for a measured amount of salt are very very bad - balancing the taste of the pesto is best done by adjusting the proportions of basil, pine nuts, and cheese - salt and pepper can be used to fine tune the final product, but adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt will just make your pesto too salty to taste the more subtle flavors.

Servings: Depends on what you intend to use the pesto for... Makes about 1 to 1.5 cups of pesto

  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups of loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup coarsely grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons to 1/3 cup olive oil (depending on what you intend to use the pesto for and how thick you like it - I personally use the olive oil sparingly)
  • black pepper (and salt, if you like) to taste
I begin by crushing the garlic and pine nuts in a garlic twist. If you are using a food processor or hand blender this isn't really necessary. Put the garlic, pine nuts, and cheese in a small bowl or food processor. Using a hand blender or food processor, pulse to turn these ingredients into a paste-like substance. Add the basil leaves a few at a time and continue pulsing the blender or food processor until the basil is chopped and the mixture is uniformly bright green. Continue until all of the basil leaves have been added. To turn this thick pesto base into a sauce, add olive oil, beginning with 3 tablespoons and adding 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you prefer. Take a taste of the pesto once the oil is well mixed in, and add black pepper and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and you're done. I keep pesto in a small tupperware container in the fridge for about a week. Pesto also freezes well, so you can make some while fresh basil is plentiful and freeze it for later use.


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