Prize Winning Pesto

Prize Winning Pesto

I make pesto often. It’s a great emergency pasta sauce for when you think you haven’t got anything in the cupboard (no tomatoes or tins of sardines) and then you remember that the green thing in the corner of the kitchen is edible – basil! I made this pesto the other night and although strictly speaking it hasn’t won any prizes yet, I’m sure it would have a very good chance in open competition – even if there were Italians involved.

After much trial and error I’ve decided that it really matters which ingredients you put into the blender. That and letting it sit for half an hour if you can manage it seem to be the key factors influencing deliciousness. If you haven’t the time to let it sit and are making it in the time the pasta cooks then it’ll be fine, but the raw garlic will have a very strong bite so use caution.

Pesto Recipe

My method is as follows:

(for 2 – I allow a generous large tablespoon per person)

  • Blend garlic (1 clove), basil (1 big handful) and pinenuts (50g ish) with a small slug of olive oil. I use one of those handheld blenders that are really meant for soup, but that’s only because I haven’t got a real blender… don’t overdo it, you want to keep a bit of the texture. My husband regularly reminds me that Italian women use a pestle and mortar for this so you can do that if you can be bothered.
  • Let it sit for around 30 minutes.
  • Boil your pasta – whilst it’s boiling grate a piece of parmesan or pecorino sardo (or a mixture of the two) until you have a big handful-sized pile.
  • Drain your pasta and add the mixture from the blender and an extra slug of olive oil and stir. Then add the grated cheese and stir again.
  • Season and serve.

What’s your method?

Pesto recipe

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