Make pesto like an Italian grandmother

I’ve made pesto by at least 10 different recipes and this is by far the best.  It is sooo delicious served up with crusty, toasted baguettes.

pesto ko


My recipe:


3 cloves garlic, cut into pieces
2 cups solidly packed fresh basil leaves (or 1 cup solidly packed basil leaves and 1 cup solidly packed parsley)
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup Parmigiano Regiano
2 tablespoons softened (room temperature) unsalted butter


You can use a food processor or a large, sturdy mortar and pestle.

If using a blender or processor (I have a little one that is dedicated to Pesto). Place all the ingredients except the cheese and the butter. Blend to a smooth puree (don’t overblend). Transfer to a bowl, and add the parmigiano and beat in using a wooden spoon. Add the butter and beat the mixture until it is smooth.

To Serve:
Serve over fettuccine or penne pasta.
While your pasta is cooking, add two tablespoon of the cooking water to a bowl large enough to hold the pasta. Stir in the pesto and the butter and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. When the pasta is cooked, drain very briefly (don’t allow to dry) and add to the bowl with the pesto, toss to coat evenly.

Pesto Tips

  • Don’t heat it! Rule number one is don’t heat the pesto. Let the pesto room to warm temperature and add to hot pasta or top vegetables.
  • Some people prefer to mix half parsley and half basil to tone-down the strong basil flavor.  We go for the gusto and use 100% basil.
  • Pesto Bruschetta
  • I like to cut it with a little more olive oil and serve as a dip for the bread.  It will make you want to slap yo’ grandmama.  Or you can
    toast thin slices of baguette under the broiler.  Remove from the oven and top with a couple of  large teaspoons of pesto. Add chopped fresh tomatoes and maybe a little mozarrella  This makes an excellent snack or a light dinner with some good red wine.
  • Source:  Gourmet Sleuth

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