Pesto is summer and summer is not summer without pesto. Pesto and sweet corn. It reminds me of home, childhood, of warm nights, crickets, open windows. I made pesto recently by the mortar pestle method and that was REALLY REALLY good, but more work. There are so many recipes for pesto. Some have pancetta, some have walnuts, some have butter. This one is a bit richer than others, but so good. Although this calls for a blender, I use the food processor, I find it much easier (my blender is old and pretty lame)...
2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife handle and peeled
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. freshly grated Romano pecorino cheese
3 Tbs. butter, softened to room temperature
I used a mix of green and purple basil from the garden (pretty yes?)
You want to tear up all but the smallest leaves into pieces, but use care not to crush the basil.
Put basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, and salt in the blender or processor and mix at high speed until evenly blended, scraping down sides with spatula as needed.
It will look creamy green olive oily and deliciousssssss!
At this point, pour it into a bowl and gently mix in the grated cheese by hand.
Then beat in the softened butter.
Before spooking the pesto over pasta, add a tablespoon or so of the hot water in which the pasta has boiled. My favorite pastas to use with pesto: Rotini, Penne, or Orecchiette. Especially with the Orecciette, a really nice addition is some toasted pine nuts. Also, my dad was saying lately he has been adding some potatoes and green beans to the pasta, which he cooks in the same water. I think this sounds delicious and plan to try it. Also I used this pesto the other night on homemade pizza, with some fresh colorful tomatoes from a local farm, mozzarella, and topped it with some fresh basil leaves. This was AMAZING. YUM.
Note on mortar pesto: same ingredients. Use a marble mortar and wooden pestle. In this order:
1. Put basil, pine nuts, garlic, and a pinch of coarse salt in and using a rotary movement, grind the ingredients against the side of the mortar, crushing with the pestle (this takes some patience!)
2. Once ground into a paste, add both grated cheeses and continue to grind until mixture is evenly blended.
3. Put aside the pestle. Shir olive oil in, a few drops at a time at first, beating it into the mixture with a wooden spoon. Then beat in the butter with the spoon.