Whip up this delightful Pesto di Basilico and watch it elevate your pasta and other dishes. Got some extra garden basil? This is your tasty solution!
Basil Pesto, made with fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil, is easily prepared in the food processor.
Why Making Classic Basil Pesto is a Game-Changer
- Irresistible Flavor: Nothing quite like the aroma and taste of homemade pesto. The freshness of basil, paired with virgin olive oil and the earthy undertones of pine nuts, is unparalleled.
- Quick and Easy: With our straightforward recipe, you can whip up a vibrant basil pesto in less than 10 minutes.
- Authenticity at Home: Why settle for store-bought versions when you can easily recreate the genuine flavors of authentic “pesto di Basilico” in your kitchen?
Ingredients for a Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
- Fresh basil leaves: There’s no real substitute for this. Tip: Buy basil plants for easy and affordable access to fresh leaves throughout the season.
- Fresh garlic: For that extra kick and flavor.
- Shredded Parmesan cheese: Ditch the store-bought versions and go for fresh Parmesan Cheese for a richer taste.
- Extra-virgin olive oil adds smoothness and rich texture.
- Raw Pine nuts: These can be replaced with walnuts, cashews, or almonds, but remember, each nut offers a unique flavor.
How to Make Pesto di Basilico
- Gather Your Equipment: To start, ensure you have a food processor. It’s crucial for achieving the ideal texture, whether you prefer your “pesto basilic” smooth or a tad chunky.
- Blend: Place all ingredients into the food processor. Process for 10 seconds, then scrape down the sides and continue until you get a consistent blend.
- Adjust: If the mixture is too thick, introduce virgin olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
This pesto recipe yields roughly a 2/3 cup batch of pesto pasta sauce.
Commonly Asked and Answered Questions
What are some Traditional Pesto Basilic basil uses?
Pesto, originally from the Liguria region of Italy, is traditionally known as “pesto alla Genovese” or “pesto basilic” (in English: basil pesto).
This aromatic green sauce has been embraced worldwide, and while its uses have expanded, here are some of the traditional ways pesto basilic is used:
- Pasta: The most classic use. Pesto is often tossed with cooked pasta, particularly spaghetti, tagliatelle, tortellini, and linguine.
- Bruschetta: Toasted slices of crusty bread with pesto for a simple, flavorful treat.
- Eggs: You wouldn’t believe it, but pesto eggs are insanely good.
- Caprese: A dollop of pesto on Caprese pizza or Caprese salad adds an extra layer of flavor.
- Salads: Pesto can be drizzled on fresh salads or used as a base for salad dressings. Our favorite way to use it is in a pesto pasta salad with chicken. Another equally delicious salad is pesto bowtie pasta.
- Seafood: Grilled or steamed fish, shrimp salad, or shrimp pesto pasta salad.
Are there substitutes for pine nuts in pesto sauce?
Yes, there are several substitutes for pine nuts in pesto sauce. While pine nuts provide pesto with a traditional flavor and texture, they can be expensive or hard to find for some.
When substituting pine nuts with any of the below-listed options, keep in mind that the flavor profile of your pesto will change slightly.
Here are some pine nut alternatives:
- Walnuts are a popular alternative and provide a slightly bitter and rich taste.
- Almonds: When blanched and skinned, almonds can give your pesto a creamy texture similar to pine nuts.
- Cashews: These nuts are often used for their creamy texture and mild flavor.
- Sunflower seeds: A nut-free alternative, sunflower seeds can be used in pesto for a slightly different but pleasant taste.
- Pecans: They can add a sweet and buttery flavor to the pesto.
- Macadamia nuts: These will give your pesto a rich and buttery taste.
- Hazelnuts: They provide a distinct and slightly sweet flavor.
- Pistachio lends a unique flavor and supports the vibrant green color of the pesto.
Is pesto salty?
Pesto can be somewhat salty due to the inclusion of Parmesan cheese and sometimes added salt. However, the saltiness can vary based on the specific recipe and individual taste preferences.
If you find a pesto too salty, you can adjust the amount of salt in a recipe (we don’t include it in ours) or Parmesan cheese when making it yourself.
Easy At-Home Recipe Variations
The sky’s the limit once you’ve mastered the basic pesto recipe. Introduce pepper flakes for a spicy kick or a splash of lemon juice for added zing. Whether you’re making homemade pesto sauce or its variants, remember, it’s all about the fresh flavor.
Storage Tip: Always store the leftover pesto in an airtight container to preserve its vibrant green color and freshness.
So, the next time you crave that perfect pesto, skip the store-bought version and get excited about making your own “pesto basilic” sauce.