If you have a thing for Italian food and you want to prepare a genuine Italian sauce, you don’t necessarily have to use tomatoes.
Pesto has been around for many centuries and its exquisite texture and taste is a signature for the light Italian cuisine.
The main ingredient for a classical pesto is basil. The author of “Made in Italy” cookbook, Giorgio Locatelli recommends using small leaves of basil so that the sauce has a full flavor and a smooth texture.
As long as the plant is fresh the sauce will have a more intense color and the perfect flavor pesto is known for.
All pesto recipes are original, you can play with the ingredients and you can experiment adding garlic or other spices. As long as you respect the base recipe which contains basil, cheese and olive oil, you are sure to get a flawless pesto.
A few decades ago the recipe contained only parmesan but Giogio Locatelli recommends using percorino sheep cheese which is not as salty as the parmesan.
A base ingredient of the pesto recipe is the pine seeds used to thicken the mixture and offer a slightly sweet taste to the mixture. If you roast the seed before blending them, the method intensifies the flavor and gives the whole mixture a plus in savor. If you cannot find pine seeds around and you still want to make pesto by the book, nuts can replace this ingredient with success.
How do you paste the pesto?
You should be aware that basil is a very delicate plant which tends to wither very fast and once it is withered, so is its flavor which is lost if not prepared properly. This is why it is recommendable to crush the basil with a mortar and pestle. Using the pestle will help the basil keep its color and intense flavor.
It is recommendable to crush the garlic with the salt before adding the pine seeds. After that you have to add the basil leaves one by one as fast as possible followed by the olive oil. The cheese comes last. The mixing time must be very fast so the ingredients will not oxidize.
A simple method through which you can make the pesto is using a blender. The garlic is mixed with cheese, basil and pine seeds after which you add the olive oil.
This method allows the cook to control better the texture of the sauce and gives a fresh taste to the pesto.