Serves 4 to 6 medium to small size portions.
Ingredients and Prep
3-4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, large stems removed and any small buds
1 garlic clove
¼ to 1/3 cup of finely grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese)
2-3 tablespoons of pine nuts
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil (approx.)
1 lb. pasta – suggestions Trofie, Gemelli, Linguini
Blanch basil leaves in boiling pot of salty water for 30 seconds. This quick process helps release the oils and preserves green color. Immediately, drain and rinse with cold water in a mess strainer.
Place strained basil in blender and add the other 5 ingredients (some water in the leaves is fine).
Pulse the blender, give a few whirls to get the ingredients chopped. Then blend/puree to make it a sauce, 1 minute or two. The consistency should be like a runny paste, able to pour a thick sauce out of blender. If it doesn’t pour, add a little water and/or a TBS or two of extra virgin olive oil. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Cook your pasta to al dente as directed on packaging. Strain pasta and place in a large serving bowl.
Immediately pour sauce over warm, just drained pasta and toss to completely coat. Reserve a little pesto sauce on the side for people to add additional. Serve immediately!
If not immediately serving, pour a very thin complete layer of extra virgin olive oil over the top of the sauce, cover with plastic wrap touching surface of pesto or oil, then refrigerate. This will prevent air from blackening it.
Warming… Because pesto is an uncooked sauce, to warm place pesto in a heat proof container in a pot of water on the stove on medium-low heat. Just warm the sauce stirring occasionally, do not cook or boil. DO NOT warm on direct stove heat or in the microwave.
Storing… To store pesto for much later use, you can freeze it. Here’s how! Prepare as above, but omit adding the parmesan cheese. Place portions in small freezer zip-lock bags, removing any air. When you take it out of the freezer to use, let it thaw in warm water, place in blender and add the 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Pour pesto sauce over cooked, just drained pasta.