This recipe can be made in a standard size food processor. It is an adaption of Marcella Hazan’s from her cookbook, The Classical Italian Cookbook. The food/travel author, Fred Plotkin, also influenced my recipe.
4 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly wiping the leaves with a damp paper towel to clean. Basil does not like to be wet and will brown quickly. Then gently tare into two or more small pieces. Be careful not to crush the basil. The purpose is to make fairly even sized pieces for uniform measuring. I prefer the traditional green leaf basil. It makes a nice bright green pesto. The purple basil produces a darker brown-green pesto.
You can also skip the cheese and pine nuts to make a BASIL SAUCE which is a delicious sauce to serve with vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese ….. Also you can add it to soups and tomato sauces for extra flavor.
1 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife handle and peeled
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped, but not too fine
1 cup freshly grated Locatelli brand romano cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese (or any combination of the romano and parmesan reggiano cheese. Most traditional is the parmesan reggiano with possibly a tiny bit of romano)
In a food processor place the basil, olive oil, garlic cloves and salt. Process with the knife blade till basil is finely minced. Do not overprocess or allow the basil to heat up. Scrape the sides of the bowl often during processing.
Remove knife blade and stir in the pine nuts and cheeses. Freeze pesto in ice cube trays and when frozen, place in a freezer carton or bag for storage in the freezer. You can also store the pesto in a jar in the refrigerator by keeping a layer of olive oil on the surface and covering with a lid. Presto! Serve with pasta as the original recipe. Use as a spread on tomatoes and fresh mozzarella or sandwiches and bruschetta. Add as a flavoring to soups, sauces and stews. Use as a marinade for chicken.