Pesto is an Italian sauce that is widely used in pastas, pizzas or even as a spread in breads. Traditionally, pesto consists of crushed garlic, basil , pine nuts blended in olive oil with some Parmesan cheese. The name PESTO is the contracted past participle of the Genoese word pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and wooden pestle. The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. This same Latin root through Old French also gave rise to the English word pestle.
I had first tasted pesto in a near by Italian restaurant and loved it so much that I wanted to make it . I have made a few variations to this classic Pesto. Instead of using just Basil, I have used a combination of basil and spinach. Instead of pine nuts , I have used roasted walnuts.
The result was so good .
So here is how you can prepare Pesto at home..
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
- Basil : 1 cup
- Spinach : 1 cup
- Garlic : 2.5 tbsp chopped
- Walnuts : 1/3 cup (you can use pine nuts or chopped almonds instead)
- Parmesan cheese (grated or powdered) : 1/2 cup (You can also use pecorino cheese instead or use a combination of parmesan and pecorino cheese
- Olive oil : 1/2 cup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean and wash the basil and spinach. Leave it in the colander for sometime until all the water from the leaves drains off.
- Dry roast the walnuts.
- Now, take the basil, spinach, walnuts and the garlic in the food processor and pulse it several times. Scrape down the sides of the container in between.
- Now add the powdered / grated cheese. While the processor is still running, add the olive oil in a steady stream so that it gets blended well with the pesto. Scrape down the sides of the container in between.
- Last add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the prepared pesto in a jar. Add some oil on top. The presence of a layer of oil on top of the pesto will prevent the pesto from turning dark.
- Enjoy pesto with pasta, pizza or as a spread for bread.