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How to make pesto sauce

How to make pesto sauce


  • Easy
  • 15 minutes
  • For 4 people
  • 1.1 € / person
  • 505kcal per 100g.

Homemade green pesto sauce .

There are times when going to enjoy the good known, one discovers the new to know.

That is precisely what happened to me not many days ago when I first tried a sauce recipe , a homemade pesto .

Nothing to do with those that usually sell in supermarkets with which he already hallucinated in colors. The combination of a good extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, cheese, pine nuts and salt is the perfect accompaniment to many types of dishes.

Recipes based on pasta, vegetables, meat and fish. So much so, that I have been trying several types of Italian pesto, including rosto pesto , which will not be the last.

It is enough to mix the odd ingredient with a good virgin olive oil to obtain a perfect dressing or accompaniment.

All these types of raw sauces based on flavored olive oil. In all kinds of recipes as an accompaniment or as part of the dishes, they are very characteristic of our Mediterranean diet.

The pesto  is a native seasoning or sauce typical of the Liguria (Italy) in which the main ingredient is basil (Ocimum basilicum).

The word pesto  comes from the Genoese ” pestare “, which means to crush or grind in a mortar, which is the way this sauce is traditionally prepared. Depending on the area of ​​Italy in which we are, there are different types of pesto but we are going to make the most popular, simple and rich recipe.

We can find many dishes around the world with varieties of this sauce. In Peru, a creamier sauce made with spinach and vegetable oil is served for green noodles. In Sicily the red pesto (pesto rosso) or Sicilian is prepared , which has dried tomato in its preparation.

The Trápani pesto has blanched tomatoes and almonds, very similar in appearance to romesco . Or the pesto with walnuts , a much cheaper sauce.

Be that as it may, I encourage you to prepare this sauce at home, accompany it with your favorite pasta and you will repeat, over and over again. You will tell me!

Preparation of pesto sauce with mortar

  1. We have two standard recipes, one with and one without mortar.
  2. If you want to prepare the pesto just as they do in Italy, you must hit the mortar. To do this, mash the peeled and chopped garlic. We add the fresh basil leaves without the stems (only the leaves) well washed, the pine nuts and the salt (if it is flaked or coarse sea salt, much better).
  3. We give it vigorously until they form a smooth and homogeneous paste.
  4. Once we have the pasta, we very slowly add a good extra virgin olive oil until there is a thick paste.
  5. If it is too thick we can lighten it with a little water. I recommend about 5 tablespoons of lukewarm water to liquefy a little, if we do not do it, the paste will be too dense.
  6. We give it well in the mortar until a uniform and fine mixture is formed.
  7. Grate the Parmesan cheese and the cured sheep cheese and add it to the sauce.
  8. We integrate well with the other ingredients. We tried the pesto and rectified with salt if necessary, although with the cheese it will surely be perfect.

Preparation of green pesto with mixer

  1. Once the pesto is made you can use it directly. Although if you keep it in a tightly closed container for a few hours, the fusion of flavors will be enhanced.
  2. If we prepare it with the grinder (it is only a venial sin and it is faster).
  3. We will place everything in a bowl and crush until there is a paste similar to a puree or light sauce. Remember to chop the basil well so that it does not get tangled in the mixer blades.
  4. One of the best sauces I know. This sauce is not only good for Italian recipes, you can accompany some potatoes, pasta, as well as some fish or even vegetables.

I encourage you to visit more recipes for tapas, snacks and pinchos  perfect for an unforgettable evening with yours.

On the blog you have plenty of accompanying examples of this famous sauce, from these roasted tomatoes with pesto to a simple raf tomato salad .

If you do not want to miss any step of this sauce, look in this album, the  recipe for pesto . Here you have a step by step that leaves nothing in the inkwell.

Tips for a perfect pesto

  • The traditional Italian cookbook says that the ingredients to make an authentic pesto sauce are seven. Fresh basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, pecorino pecorino cheese, garlic and sea salt.
  • According to tradition, it must be done in a mortar, manually. Although you can help yourself at home with a blender or kitchen robot.
  • The result is a creamy pesto. With a balance between all its ingredients so that it does not clash one above the other.
  • The olive oil that we use to make the pesto must be an extra virgin olive oil but soft. So that its flavor does not eclipse that of the other ingredients.
  • If the pesto sauce is too dense you can add a few tablespoons of water. You could take advantage of the cooking water of the pasta with which you are going to serve the pesto.
  • The Italian pesto is made with Parmesan and pecorino but finally it is hard to find. You can substitute it for a cheese that balances the flavor of the Parmesan like an aged sheep cheese.
  • If you want to prepare the sauce in advance and leave it in the fridge waiting to make the pasta, don’t add any cheese. You will already do it just before mixing with the pasta.
  • To preserve it, you can store it in a tightly closed jar or it can even be frozen. So it is worth doing a lot when we prepare it.
  • Perfect for a romantic dinner or a party at home with friends, it goes well with everything. If you don’t have time to prepare it at home, Garofalo makes it easy for you, because in addition to its pasta they have a good selection of sauces, including pesto sauce . open and ready.

Your recommendations and advice

  • Emilio Pastrana sends me some tips that can give more flavor to your pesto sauce. The recipe is from Jovani’s mother, a friend of Emilio’s. The variations of this sauce in each house or region of Italy consists of the cheese that each one usually uses. The classic is Parmigiano, but as you already mentioned, Pecorino does very well, especially Sardinian pecorino. The variation with your recipe is to toast the pine nuts in a frying pan without oil and that I do not add any water. Browning the pine nuts gives it a much more intense flavor.
  • María Isabel comments to me by email: “You must be very careful with garlic, since when it is raw, its flavor is very intense and not everyone tolerates it. If when you taste the sauce it seems to be too strong you can lower its flavor by adding tablespoons of water one by one and trying in between. A trick so that the garlic is not too strong, is to blanch it for 3 minutes in boiling water, so we can soften it a little. ”
  • Mediterranean cuisine is unique in a multitude of sauces with olive oil and of course dressings. In blog you can find the recipes of sauces better known as  mayonnaise , the authentic aioli sauce , the romesco sauce , the Moroccan chermoula a chimichurri worthy of the best Argentine,  the famous tomato sauce or salsa homemade mustard They are a staple in our kitchen.  

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