Pesto is a rich sauce from Genoa in Italy. Traditionally made with basil (especially young basil leaves), it also contains garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
It’s best to chop by hand using a mezzaluna, and to take your time doing this until everything is really finely minced and well combined. Using an electric mixer is an option, but only if you’re out of time and not that particular about the flavour.
Here’s a classic basil pesto recipe
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3 medium cloves of garlic
one small handful of raw pine nuts
roughly 3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and freshly grated (important!)
A few tablespoons of your best extra-virgin olive oil
Cover with a layer of olive oil after scooping into a jar, and refrigerate until needed. Serve over pasta, gnocchi, grilled chicken, steak or fish and over steamed baby potatoes.
Coriander, dill or sundried tomato pesto are also quite popular, simply replace the basil with any of these ingredients and proceed as usual.
TRY THESE RECIPES USING PESTO
Chilled fennel and potato soup with grilled salmon trout and dill pesto
Steamed mussels in pesto-flavoured broth
Crisp corn flatbread slathered in basil pesto
Green vegetable pasta with herb pesto
Marinated butterflied leg of lamb with sweet potatoes and garlic coriander pesto
Roma tomato and basil pesto cake