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Pesto - Marcella Hazan

From the Julia Child of Italian Cooking, this is Marcella Hazan's recipe for pesto. Its the first I've ever tasted and the only one I'll ever use. I've tried other recipes and nothing surpasses this, especially not any you'll get from a restaurant. Quality ingredients are important in simple recipes like this. The aromas in pesto's ingredients are subtle and its flavor varies depending on the brand and quality of the ingredients you choose. Make sure to find the best olive oil, the freshest basil (if it doesn't smell right or fragrant, don't bother using it, it will be a waste of expensive ingredients.) The cheeses mentioned should be sought and used. Use a high quality butter if possible.

Ready In:
17mins
Serves:
Units:

ingredients

directions

  • Briefly soak and wash the basil in cold water, and gently pat it thoroughly DRY with paper towels.
  • Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, chopped garlic, and an ample pinch of salt in the processor bowl, and process to a uniform, creamy consistency.
  • Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the two grated cheeses by hand. It is worth the slight effort to do it by hand to obtain the notably superior texture it produces.
  • When the cheese has been evenly amalgamated with the other ingredients, mix in the softened butter, distributing it uniformly into the sauce.
  • When spooning the pesto over pasta, dilute it slightly with a tablespoon or two of the hot water in which the pasta was cooked.
  • Freezing pesto: Make the sauce through to the end of Step 2, cover with a layer of olive oil and freeze it without cheese and butter in it. Add the cheese and butter when it is thawed, just before serving.
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@pizzamoon5-toss
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"From the Julia Child of Italian Cooking, this is Marcella Hazan's recipe for pesto. Its the first I've ever tasted and the only one I'll ever use. I've tried other recipes and nothing surpasses this, especially not any you'll get from a restaurant. Quality ingredients are important in simple recipes like this. The aromas in pesto's ingredients are subtle and its flavor varies depending on the brand and quality of the ingredients you choose. Make sure to find the best olive oil, the freshest basil (if it doesn't smell right or fragrant, don't bother using it, it will be a waste of expensive ingredients.) The cheeses mentioned should be sought and used. Use a high quality butter if possible."
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  1. denagirl12
    I added a couple of sun dried tomatoes and my guests loved it.
    Reply
  2. Victor E. S.
    I started using this recipe more than 20 years ago, but early on, at the urging of a girlfriend, eliminated the butter, and I never missed it. Also, you can freeze it for later use before you add the grated cheese.
    Reply
  3. Victor E. S.
    No butter, froze batches before the step where you add the grated cheese. Now, I add whole pignoli nuts after dressing the pasta with pesto, I also use pesto on sandwiches, fish and in omelets.
    Reply
  4. mdcmc143
    Not surprised by the use of butter. My father in law who is 100% Italian always puts a little bit of butter in his pesto. I've even seen him add a pat of cream cheese at the end. It adds slight creaminess to the pesto. Both ways are soooo delicious. I use lightly toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts. They are cheaper and taste just as good.
    Reply
  5. mdcmc143
    Not surprised by the use of butter. My father in law who is 100% Italian always puts a little bit of butter in his pesto. I've even seen him add a pat of cream cheese at the end. It adds slight creaminess to the pesto. Both ways are soooo delicious. I use lightly toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts. They are cheaper and taste just as good.
    Reply
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