Classic Pesto

August 12, 2011 at 7:00 am 5 comments

Inspired by my recent travels in Italy and a beautiful pot or three of basil growing in my backyard, I present to you, as promised, homemade pesto. It is so incredibly simple with absolutely heavenly results. My sister and I are convinced that we could live solely on pasta with pesto for about a month, it is that good. The most important part of this dish is splurging a little bit on high quality ingredients, especially the pine nuts, cheese, and basil.

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Pine nuts are on the expensive end, but really take pesto to a whole new level. To help with the cost factor of pine nuts, they can be bought in larger sizes and then frozen. This website recommends freezing for only 2 months, but admits that they can be kept for much longer while maintaining freshness. Another important factor here is the cheese – get real cheese! Fake American Parmesan cheese (you know, the stuff in a plastic tube…) will simply not substitute here. Lastly, find really fresh basil! As the pasta is cooking, start making the pesto. The closer the basil is chopped to when you mix it in the pasta, the more the aromatic flavor will absorb into the pasta. Simple, fresh ingredients that lead to heaven on a fork.

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This meal was special for two other reasons – real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from Bazzano and trofie pasta from Vernazza. Instead of buying my family souvenirs, I brought home things for a meal I could make for and enjoy with them. I have told you all about the making of the cheese, and was in heaven as the aroma escaped from my first open package. I couldn’t help but sneak a few slivers of fresh cheese as I grated it for the pesto! The trofie pasta was also really special, and unlike any pasta I have seen before. The noodles are short and twisted, and hold the sauce so nicely. They take forever to cook – 18 minutes! – compared to typical pastas, but were well worth the wait. To truly bring home the Italian spirit to my family, I served dinner the way my friend’s parents served us each night. We began with a primo – the trofie with pesto sauce. After we had practically licked our bowls clean, I brought out a simple garden salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, enjoyed with a small hunk of bread. I can’t wait until my basil plant recovers so that I can make this pesto again!

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Classic Pesto

lightly adapted from here

1/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove

2 tbsp pine nuts

scant 1 cup packed basil

1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

Chop garlic in food processor. Add pine nuts and basil and process until chopped. Blend in cheese. Add olive oil slowly to bring all ingredients together as a sauce.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. EmandM  |  August 12, 2011 at 7:55 am

    mmmm looks so delicious =)

    Reply
  • 2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide  |  August 12, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Looks wonderful!

    Reply
  • 3. Freezing Summer « homemadeadventure  |  September 27, 2011 at 7:00 am

    […] used what is likely the last of my crop of basil leaves to make my classic pesto. Then I cleaned out an ice cube tray and coated it with cooking spray. I spooned the pesto into 6 […]

    Reply
  • 4. WIAW in the Future « homemadeadventure  |  October 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    […] gone! I made Chelsey’s vegan pesto, which I am nicknaming the poor student’s pesto. My classic pesto can become quite pricey thanks to the fancy cheese and pine nuts, and this is a nice weekday […]

    Reply
  • 5. Vegan Pesto « homemadeadventure  |  January 9, 2012 at 9:01 am

    […] by my classic pesto, serves […]

    Reply

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