The word pesto derives from pestare, to step on or mash, and therefore can be applied to a number of different sauces.
The main ingredient of pesto sauce is basil, the fresher and more flavoursome the better. The best basil in Italy is grown in Liguria, which is probably why the sauce originated in this region.
To serve 10 adults for a buffet, we cooked 2 pounds of spaghetti with 4 packets of basil leaves which we got from our favourite grocer and mortared. You will need toasted pine nuts, cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper.
However, to serve for 4 to 6 as a main course with a tossed salad you will need:
Recipe adapted from help with cooking.
1 cup fresh basil leaves – tightly packed
¼ cup grated aged pecorino cheese (a GOOD parmesan will substitute)
½ cup grated Parmigiano (increase this to ¾ if no pecorino)
2 cloves of garlic
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup pine nuts
- Wash and drain dry basil leaves. Cut them into an inch long smaller pieces to ease your job at the mortar and pestle.
- Put the salt, garlic, nuts and basil in it and grind the mixture, firmly crushing the ingredients against the sides of the mortar, rather than striking sharp blows with the pestle. Do not pound.
- When the mixture is ground, add the cheese, a bit at a time, continuing to grind, and when it is all worked in, add the oil in a slow stream, stirring with a wooden spatula. The resulting pesto should be smooth and cream.
Vel was getting all herbal.
Little Margaux Chan said “CHEESE tastes so good”.