One of my favorite smells in the world is the sweet aroma of fresh basil. I was recently watering the basil plant on my kitchen windowsill, hoping I didn’t kill this one, since I seem to be a serial basil-killer, and thought, I need to make some pesto before this plant ends up in the trash. I did not inherit my parents’ green thumb, so I wanted to get some mileage out of this plant. Plus, pesto is such a perfect summer meal – light and fresh.
I first attempted pesto about 3 years ago, but after my lovely husband insisted on “helping” by jamming a wooden spoon into the blender–thus destroying both the pesto and the blender–I haven’t tried it since.
We were at Masina, in Weehawken, NJ, this weekend for dinner and ordered a very flavorful ricotta and pesto crostini. That got my mouth watering and my mind racing. It might be time to revisit pesto. That, and now that we’re all stocked up with new kitchen appliances– including a fancy Cuisinart — I just had to give this Italian staple another try.
Most of the recipes I found online were pretty much the same. This pesto recipe is based on one I found in Bon Appetit. But, but after reading a number of reviews, I made some modifications. See below and enjoy!
based on Classic Pesto recipe in Bon Appetit, August 2004
Yields about 1 cup of pesto
- 5 cups fresh basil leaves (about 4 large bunches)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (the best you can find)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 teaspoon course sea salt
- 8 oz. uncooked pasta
Boil water for pasta and prepare pasta according to directions on the box. While water is boiling, pick basil leaves and wash thoroughly. Place basil in a salad spinner and spin out all the excess water. Try to get the basil as dry as possible — you may want to blot the basil leaves with a paper towel.
Then add the cheese and blend some more. Add salt to taste.
And that’s it! Top a ¼ cup of pesto over pasta and serve with a salad or veggies and you are good to go. A quick and easy meal to make after work.