Basil is probably my favorite herb of all. It’s that magical taste and smell that is driving me completely crazy! Basil has such a strong aroma and I LOVE when it spreads all around the house. One sprig of this fresh herb can completely change the taste of your salad or other dish!
My love for basil led me to start growing it at home. I am doing that for few years now and results are really awesome. They grow really well in my conditions.
Apart from adding basil to various dishes I also love making homemade pesto out of it. This Italian sauce is so versatile! You can use it in salads, pastas, soups… whatever you like! It is also great for appetizer toppings.
This post includes a step-by-step process of making pesto at home. Let’s do it!
First of all, it needs to be said that I used a mortar and pestle to make this pesto (authentic way) but it’s fine to use a food processor too. It is said that mortar and pestle method releases more flavors and aromatic oils. The texture of pesto is different too. Everyone has to try both versions to feel the true difference by themselves!
For this homemade pesto you will need: basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt. The authentic Italian pesto recipe requires the addition of another cheese – Pecorino Romano. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find this cheese in my town so I will use only Parmesan. If you want to use Pecorino, the ratio of Parmesan to Pecorino should be 3 to 1.
Start by pounding garlic with salt.
Add pine nuts and keep pounding.
Now it’s time for the most important ingredient – basil. Add few leaves and start crushing them by pressing and rotating the pestle against the walls of the mortar. I would recommend adding basil in batches if your mortar is a smaller one like mine.
After a few minutes of work you will have a thick mixture.
Stir in Parmesan cheese. It’s almost done!
Finish the sauce by adding the olive oil.
Mix everything well till the olive oil is evenly distributed.
That’s it! The result should be a creamy, thick pesto sauce. The taste? Strong aroma of basil, with hints of garlic and cheese. Enjoy it!
- 2 cups (1 oz.) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 small garlic clove, cut into several pieces
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Gently wash basil leaves (the stems should be discarded) and dry on paper towels. Don't rub them. Set aside.
- To make the pesto, pound the garlic with salt in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Add pine nuts and keep pounding until crushed and creamy. Add the basil leaves (in batches) and start crushing them by pressing and rotating the pestle against the walls of the mortar. Pound, until you have a thick green paste. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Gradually add the olive oil to the mixture as you pound. Mix everything well till the olive oil is evenly distributed.
- Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.