Cream makes almost everything taste good. That said, I’m getting tired of being served pesto at restaurants smothered in the stuff. All you need for a good pesto is fresh basil and parley, garlic, good quality olive oil, Parmesan and of course a dash of salt and pepper. That’s it.
If you want to go all out, pine nuts won’t hurt either.
This is my grandmother’s basic pesto recipe. It’s the one I’ve made since I was a kid. Pesto goes so well with any pasta but it also tastes fantastic spread over stone baked pizzas or drizzled on an insalata Caprese. Really, it compliments almost any Italian style dish.
The great thing about making basil pesto is that it’s really hard to get wrong. Let’s say, for example you decided to add three large handfuls of basil instead of the recommended two in this recipe. I promise you, you’ll love it. Want more or less garlic? That’s up to you.
Like the title implies, this is a basic pesto recipe which I just happen to have served with pasta. Feel free to experiment and have fun with it. As long as you use high quality and fresh ingredients, you are in for a pesto party in your mouth.
- 2 large bunches of fresh basil leaves
- 6 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup (200ml) good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 large handfuls finely grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- When boiling, add the dry pasta and simmer until al dente. It should have a bit of bite to it and not be too soft.
- Meanwhile, blend all of the pesto ingredients except for half of the Parmesan and half of the toasted pine nuts.
- When the mixture looks like pesto, it's ready.
- When you pasta is ready, drain it and then pour it back in the pot with a couple tablespoons of butter.
- Mix this all up and add the pesto with the remaining pine nut seeds.
- Stir to combine.
- Serve immediately topped with the remaining Parmesan.