fresh basil leaves
2 fluid ounces
of best quality olive oil, preferably from liguria
2 -3 cloves
garlic, peeled and cut in half
freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Holding the basil by it's stalks, gently swish the leaves in a bowl of cold water.
- Pick off the leaves from the stalks and dry them n kitchen paper without bruising them.
- Now you need to reduce the leaves and salt to a smooth puree-use a pestle and mortar or a food processor for this.
- If using a pestle and mortar (wood is best) press and grind the basil against the sides, rather than bashing downwards, and work from the edges inward.
- Salt will be your friend at this stage; it's grittiness helps you with the pounding.
- Once you have the leaves gently but reasonably mushed, add the oil.
- Begin to pour in the oil slowly and stir until you have a smooth creamy texture.
- Now work in the garlic, add just enough so that it can be tasted without being over powering.
- Tip in the pinenuts and cheese and blend in these.
- Keep going until the mixture is smooth and no longer stringy.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that parmesan is quite salty and that raw garlic already gives a hot sensation in your mouth.