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Pesto like an Italian Grandmother
One key to perfect pesto is chopping all the ingredients by hand, preferably with a sharp mezzaluna or knife. This pesto will keep a bit in the refrigerator, but it really hits its peak when served soon after it is made. The technique here is: chop a bit, add some ingredients, chop some more. I think part of the reason she does it this way (instead of chopping everything all at once) is because some things get chopped into oblivion, while some, not as much - it encourages spectrum of cut sizes throughout the pesto contributing to the overall texture. All told, the chopping took me a leisurely twenty to thirty minutes, I wasn't in any particular rush. You'll notice this recipe doesn't have any added salt (just the saltiness from the cheese), make sure your pasta water is well salted if you are going to use this pesto on pasta or the overall flavor profile will fall flat. Also, be sure to adjust for seasoning before serving.

Category Sauce
Contributor Jeremiah
Last Update 6/18/2016 2:45:10 PM
Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 1 min
Serves 6

arrow_right Basil, 1 large bunch
 arrow_right Garlic, 3 cloves
 arrow_right Raw pine nuts, one small handful
 arrow_right Grated Parmesan, roughly 3/4 cup

Cooking Instructions

 Wash and dry Basil
 Grate parmesan if not bought grated
 Start chopping the garlic along with about 1/3 of the basil leaves.
 Once this is loosely chopped add more basil, chop some more, add the rest of the basil, chop some more.
 Scrape and chop, gather and chop.
 At this point the basil and garlic should be a very fine mince.
 Add about half the pine nuts, chop.
 Add the rest of the pine nuts, chop.
 Add half of the Parmesan, chop.
 Add the rest of the Parmesan, and chop.
 In the end you want a chop so fine that you can press all the ingredients into a basil "cake" - see the photo up above.
 Transfer the pesto "cake" to a small bowl (not much bigger than the cake).
 Cover with a bit of olive oil, it doesn't take much, just a few tablespoons.
 You can set this aside or place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
 Just before serving give the pesto a quick stir to incorporate some of the oil into the basil.
 Can thin the pesto with a splash of pasta water for more coverage

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