Easy to impress: Pesto Genovese
When I go to a dinner date at a friend’s house I’d like to bring something homemade. I’ve often brought pesto and was surprised that people hardly ever make this themselves. They are often very impressed and want to know how to make it. So here goes 🙂
Making pesto is so easy that my 4 year old daughter can do it (almost) herself. She knows what to put in and likes using the kitchen machine. But the tasting if it’s good is her favourite part 🙂
Pesto is an Italian ‘herb sauce’ and can be made with lots of different ingredients such as a variety of nuts (pinenuts, walnuts, cashew), different kinds of cheese and different herbs or even vegetables (spinach). The thing they all have in common is that they consist of: oil, fresh component (herb/vegetable), cheese, nuts, salt, pepper and often garlic.
Pesto can be used as a delicious spread on some bread or toast. It is great and very easy as a sauce for pasta, potatoes, vegetables or meat.
The pesto I make usually is called Pesto Genovese and consists of a standard list of ingredients. In store bought jars Pesto Genovese you can often find the expensive ingredients substituted by others. Often using cashews instead of pine nuts and other kinds of oil instead of olive oil.
The most important aspect of simple dishes is that the ingredients have to be top quality. You will definitely taste the difference between great and normal products. The most important taste influence is the olive oil. So use the best (tastiest) olive oil you can find (we buy oil in a specialized shop).
- nice basil (preferably a plant, if it’s already cut about 30g)
- 30-50 g (2 hands of grated) Parmesan – grated or in small pieces
- app. 75 ml quality extra vergine olive oil
- 1/2 big (or 1 small) clove garlic – peeled
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- lightly toast the pine nuts in a clean, dry pan and set aside on a plate (to cool)
- pick the basil leaves from the stems (you can leave soft ones on) and wash it. get the excess water off it
- put the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic in a small kitchen machine (or stick blender – use grated cheese and chopped garlic in this case) and blend until finely chopped
- add olive oil in portions, salt (taste first!) and pepper and mix until the right consistency. add more oil if you want to be more runny (better for some dishes)