If you’re familiar with making pesto you probably use a food processor or blender to mix all the ingredients. While being tasty, the authentic Italian method imparts more flavor by allowing the individual tastes to come through.
I made this recipe and thought it was delish . . . hubby didn’t like it and said it tasted “too strong”. That being said, he’s never had pesto before. It tasted like pesto is supposed to taste . . . only more so! Yummers.
Chopping all the ingredients by hand is the key because this prevents the ingredients from becoming a completely homogenized emulsion or paste. You will need a good sharp knife and the chopping process will take about 20 minutes.
The technique is to chop a bit, add some ingredients, chop some more. This helps to create a variance of cut sizes throughout the pesto contributing to the overall texture.
1 Large Bunch of Basil, Leaves Only, Washed And Dried
3 Medium Cloves of Garlic
1 Small Handful of Raw Pine Nuts
1 Cup Parmesan, Loosely Packed And Freshly Grated
A Few Tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
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 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". Transfer the pesto "cake" to a small bowl (not much bigger than the cake). Cover with a few tablespoons of olive oil.
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. You can thin the pesto with a splash of pasta water for more coverage.
Makes about 1 cup.