Parmesan cheese grated
1 + ½ tablespoon
Pecorino Cheese grated
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you do not have enough time or a marble mortar at your disposal you can do pesto sauce in the food processor as well, of course. There are however some tricks to adopt, especially in order to minimize oxidation: – Sometimes before making pesto put the food processor bowl and the blades in the fridge to make them very cold. – Use the food processor intermittently. In this way the blades revolving will not cause too much heat. – If available use an immersion blender, don’t ask me why but the pesto comes off better.
Remove all stems from the basil leaves. The stems, in fact, not only contain water but also bring a bitter taste. Use a sweet garlic and always remove the green tip inside. Never sharply cut or smash the basil leaves but gently rotate the pestle along the mortar walls, so that the leaves are “torn up” and free their essential oils. Use a seasoned Parmesan cheese. In addition to give a more intense flavour, it avoids pesto sticking to the bottom of the plate when pasta is seasoned. Taste during each step in the process and adjust accordingly, because garlic and basil are not always the same! The very secret of pesto is balance, the right equilibrium among all the ingredients! If the pesto comes out too salty, add less parmesan cheese and/or if necessary less salt to the pasta water. Finish the process as soon as possible to prevent the pesto from oxidizing. Cover the pesto with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil always to avoid oxidation.
1. Wash the basil leaves with cold water and put them on a canvas to dry without wrecking them. They must be well dry before proceeding with the preparation of the pesto.
2.Put a clove of garlic in the mortar, taking care to remove any inner green bit (that is the less digestive part of the garlic). Add 1/3 of the pine nuts and with an up and down motion of the pestel crush until it is reduced to a cream. Scoop out the garlic cream from the mortar and put aside. You will add it later.
3.Put the remaining pine nuts in the mortar, add the basil leaves and few grains of rock salt. Rock salt is needed because it helps grinding and allows to break basil leaves while using the pestle. It also prevents oxidation. However, do not exaggerate with salt!
4.Begin smashing the basil leaves with a rotating movement along the interior walls of the mortar. Basil leaves should be “torn up” not pounded. In this way they release the essential oils contained in the internal veins. Pour until an homogenous cream is obtained.
5.When the last basil leaves are mixed, add the garlic cream previously left aside. Add them little at a time and taste.
6.Then add cheeses. Amalgamate and taste. Adjust with salt if necessary.
7.Finally, add the oil, stirring gently and making sure that the oil does not create an emulsion. After finishing the pesto, keep it under a light layer of oil to prevent oxidation.