Makes 1 cup
Pesto makes a tasty topping that uses few ingredients and is incredibly versatile. Pesto can be used as a topping for any number of things such as potatoes and pasta (these are common uses), toasted french bread, cooked eggs, tomato slices, or butter-fried rounds of zucchini. Or you can make a salad dressing out of it (see the following recipe).
Genovese basil, the most ordinary kind of basil, is the one most commonly used for pesto. But do try other varieties as well if you are growing them or can find them at a farmer’s market.
You can use a food processor or grind the ingredients the whole fashioned way with a mortar and pestle. We include both methods below. Walnuts can be substituted for the pine nuts.
2 packed cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
Pinch of coarse salt
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese (preferably made from raw milk)
1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
Pepper to taste
Food processor method. Add the basil, garlic and pine nuts to the food processor using the metal blade. Pulse a few times. Add the olive oil slowly with the food processor running. Scrape down the sides with a wooden spatula. Add the cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Pulse until the desired consistency is achieved. I like it a little course. Scrape down the sides as needed.
Mortar and pestle. Using a marble mortar and wooden pestle, grind the basil leaves along with the garlic and the salt until creamy. Add the pine nuts and grind. Then mix in the cheese and olive oil. Add pepper and adjust the salt to taste.