Tradition Pesto – when it comes to classic italian cooking it doesn’t get much simpler than this. I would even reserve the word ‘cooking’ as this requires zero heat.
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This recipe is basically a starting point, similar to a salad dressing: Any ingredient can (and should) be substituted for something in its category. Don’t fuss about having the exact ingredients – chances are you currently have everything you need for a pesto in your fridge right now. What’s even more versatile than this recipe is how you can use it. Pasta, pizza, bruschetta, sandwich or even on fish, seafood, chicken or a roasting rub. For my basic pesto pasta recipe (like the video) I usually include sun-dried tomatoes, grape or cherry tomatoes.
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 3 handfuls fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
- 1 handful pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 good handful grated Parmesan
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients and pound, blitz or pulse! I use a magic bullet bc I don’t have a pestle & mortar (also its way easier). Alternatively use a food processor. Once I was in a pinch and didn’t have any of these things, so I got to practice my knife skills. It still worked, but I had to earn it.
Think about the substitutes as you read the recipe. Basil could be switched for any flavourful greens or soft herb like parsley, purple basil, arugula or spinach. Pine nuts are stupid expensive and for that reason I rarely used them. I always keep walnuts in my freezer, which have a similar consistency to pine nuts. Make sure you toast whatever nuts choose – nuts are always better when they are warmed up a little first… Parmesan can be switched out for any other hard cheese – aged white cheddar comes to mind, also fontina?
Regardless of what you go with, this is a no-fuss recipe so stop over-thinking it! Good luck!