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Basil pesto

Chef Danilo Angè

Difficulty: easy

Method: 5'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 5'

Chef Danilo Angè

Difficulty: easy

Method: 5'

Difficulty: easy

Method: 5'

Method

  1. 01 / If preparing pesto with a mortar and pestle

    Remove germ from garlic

    Combine garlic and coarse salt in mortar

    Begin grinding to form a garlic paste

    Add pine nuts

    Continue grinding to crush pine nuts

    Add basil a little at a time

    Grind well so it begins to break down

    Add Parmigiano and Pecorino

    Add extra virgin olive oil, not all at once but a little at a time

    Stop grinding once pesto is creamy

  2. 02 / If preparing pesto with a food processor

    Remove germ from garlic

    Combine garlic and coarse salt in food processor

    Add basil

    Aggiungete parmigiano e pecorino

    Add Parmigiano and Pecorino

    Add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, just enough to facilitate processing

    Turn on food processor

    Add oil a little at a time

Wine pairing

Pair pesto with a dry, savoury white wine from Liguria, such as Vermentino or Pigato.

If you prefer red wine, you can choose a delicate Ligurian wine like Rossese di Dolceacqua.

Pesto takes little time to prepare and has no steps that can be completed in advance.

If you make the pesto with a mortar and pestle, do not pound the leaves hard but gently rotate the pestle along the walls of the mortar, so as to tear them up without crushing them. This is the best way to release the basil’s fragrance.

If you are using a food processor, you can avoid the pesto darkening from overheating by refrigerating the processor’s bowl and blades for a few hours beforehand. When you begin processing, pulse the ingredients often and for a few seconds at a time. Add the oil as soon as possible, as it prevents the pesto from oxidising.

Never heat pesto, it is not a sauce that should be cooked.

Under no circumstances should you add butter, cream, or any fat other than extra virgin olive oil!

You can keep pesto in the refrigerator for a few days.

If you are freezing the pesto, it is better to do so before adding the cheeses. Remember to incorporate them when preparing to serve it.

If you want to freeze it, divide the pesto into individual portions among small glass jars and immediately put them in the freezer. To use it, remove pesto from the freezer a few hours beforehand and then refresh it with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Though popular throughout Italy, basil pesto originated in Liguria, where it is made with:

Genovese basil PDO

Vessalico garlic

Taggiasca extra virgin olive oil

Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano

Pecorino Fiore Sardo PDO

If you cannot get these ingredients, be sure to use:

Basil, ideally with small leaves

A delicately flavoured garlic

A mild extra virgin olive oil without an overpowering flavour

A non-Sardinian Pecorino which is still Italian, such as Roman or Tuscan Pecorino

Nowadays you will often find basil pesto made without garlic, for those avoiding digestive upset. In the interest of maintaining the balance of flavours, it would be preferable to use less garlic without completely eliminating it.

Ingredients for 4 people

60 g basil leaves

50 g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

30 g Pecorino Fiore Sardo, grated

30 g pine nuts

1 clove garlic

2 g coarse salt

70 g Ligurian extra virgin olive oil

Wine pairing

Pair pesto with a dry, savoury white wine from Liguria, such as Vermentino or Pigato.

If you prefer red wine, you can choose a delicate Ligurian wine like Rossese di Dolceacqua.

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