Traditional Italian pesto pasta recipe
Pesto is an Italian sauce of Genoese origin that contains basil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil. Simple ingredients that make it a fresh and light sauce that few people can resist.
If we prepare the sauce at home it is more than likely that we will never buy the packaged again because, although the homemade versions usually exceed the industrial ones, with the pesto sauce it is much more exaggerated. They have nothing to do with it. Also, we only need to mash the ingredients and boil the pasta al dente. In 15 minutes we have a recipe for scandal.
In Genoa, it is common for pesto sauce to use a paste called trofie, not so easy to find in these lands, but with long pasta such as linguine, it is also common.
- 60 gr. fresh basil (the most tender leaves)
- 1 clove of garlic (or less)
- 50 gr. parmesan cheese
- 50 gr. pecorino cheese
- 50 gr. pine nuts
- A teaspoon of coarse salt
- 100-120 ml. extra virgin olive oil
- A little cooking water (from the pasta)
We boil the pasta that we want following the manufacturer’s instructions.
We start preparing the pesto. It is important to use the most tender leaves of the basil, the smallest. We wash them and remove the stems. The amount of garlic is to taste, we can use just a piece or use whole garlic if we prefer a more powerful flavor.
Traditionally the sauce is prepared with mortar and energy, not with a food processor (but we won’t tell anyone if you use a blender or robot).
With a mortar or a kitchen machine, we grind all the ingredients. The garlic is chopped manually first and then the rest is added. The color has to be bright green. We don’t have to overdo the amount of cheese and looking at the color is a good way to find the right spot.
If after grinding the pesto it is a bit thick, we can add a tablespoon or two of the cooking water for the pasta.
According to the Genoese, you have to serve the pesto in the bottom of the plate and put the pasta on top, not the other way around as we usually do. We stir until the pasta and sauce are well integrated, and to eat.