Recipe by Cucina Casalingo
Making pesto by hand in a mortar produces the most authentic and delicious results. If your mortars is too small to accommodate whole basil leaves, use a food processor to gently and minimally chop leaves before proceeding. Pesto is best used the same day but keeps, its surface covered with a thin layer of olive oil and tightly covered, chilled, for 3 days. To dress pasta, dilute pesto with a tablespoon to two of pasta cooking water, toss with hot pasta (just cooked and drained), add a tablespoon or two of butter and toss again. Serve at once.
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- coarse sea salt
- 6 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
- 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Directions See How It's Made
- Place pine nuts in a medium skillet and heat over medium-low heat.
- Cook, occasionally shaking the pan back and forth over the heat, until nuts are toasted, 6 - 8 minutes.
- Transfer nuts to a plate to cool completely.
- Rinse basil and gently, but thoroughly, pat dry with paper towels.
- Place in a mortar with cooled pine nuts, garlic and pinch of salt.
- Using the pestle with a rotary movement grind ingredients against the wall of the mortar, until ground to a paste.
- Add both cheeses and grind into mixture to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- In a slow and steady stream, add oil, whisking constantly.