Ligurian Pesto Sauce
Ingredients: Serves four
1-3 cloves garlic depending on your taste
2 cups fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts (pinoli) or and walnuts.
1 dash salt and pepper at wish
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated or and Pecorino cheese
Pesto sauce is very easy and fast to prepare. You can vary the ingredients in the recipe to follow your taste. I prefer the lighter version using only one garlic clove the pinoli nuts and parmesan. If you don't find good pinoli you can use walnuts. For the cheese I use parmesan, but in a lot of recipes they tell you to mix it half and half with pecorino. If you use only pecorino you will have a spicier note.
The Latin word for basil, basilicum, actually comes from the Greek which means royal - it was intended to be a royal leaf. The recipe originates from the coastal Italian region called Liguria. Other parts of Italy have other kinds of pesto like the trapanese. If you would like to preserve the leaves (like in the old times), take a vase then after washing the basil layer them with salt and oil. Put the vase away from light in a cool place, (the fridge is ok). You can keep the leaves like that for several days.
Leaves treated like that are excellent for preparing pesto. Traditionally pesto is served with trofie or trenette - two kinds of fresh pasta. Also following tradition instead of the mixer you should use the mortar. This avoids that the metal blades from the mixer extracts the bitter essences from the leaves. Have fun!
Directions: Put first the pinoli, garlic and the basil into the mixer. Then add oil, cheese, salt and pepper if you like. Mix until creamy and the pesto is ready to go!
For the pasta I used fresh ready made fettuccine 9 oz for four.
Pesto is not only delicious on pasta but for example also on boiled eggs, gnocchi and so on. Ligurians like to add peas and potatoes to the pesto before topping their pasta.