This spring, use fragrant fresh basil to whip up a small batch of beautiful, bright green pesto. The name of this sauce aptly corresponds to the Genoese verb for “pound” or “crush,” paying homage to its Italian city of origin and its method of preparation. Aromatic, nutty, and rich, this timeless seasoning lends complexity and depth of flavor to pastas, salads, and soups. It also happens to be perfectly tasty atop breakfast eggs, slathered on slices of hearty toast, or eaten by the spoonful. Here is a simple equation for classic homemade pesto to give your favorite dishes a springtime hue (and a major flavor boost) this season.
BASIL + NUTS + GARLIC + CHEESE + OLIVE OIL = PESTO HEAVEN
2 bunches fresh basil, divided
½ cup pine nuts (or nut of your choice)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (or hard cheese of your choice)
2 cloves garlic
¼-½ cup olive oil
blender or food processor
To make a spread for bread, you’ll want to use the lesser amount of olive oil for a thicker consistency. To season pastas or salads, you’ll opt for the greater amount of oil to achieve maximum sauciness.
1. Prepare Basil: Rinse basil and pick leaves, discarding stems.
2. Start Pesto: In a blender or food processor, combine pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and ½ of basil. Season with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Blend or pulse until ingredients are finely chopped.
3. Finish Pesto: Add remaining basil to blender or food processor and blend or pulse until a paste forms. With the motor running, slowly stream in ¼-½ cup olive oil until sauce is emulsified (see Recipe Tip). Taste and add more salt as needed. That’s it—enjoy!