This classic uncooked sauce—made with fresh basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and olive oil—originated in Genoa, Italy. A versatile sauce that is used on a variety of dishes, especially those with pasta. Nowadays "pestos" are made with ingredients such as cilantro and mint.
2 tablespoons pine nuts (pignoli)
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves
- Lightly toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until golden, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- In a food processor or blender (or using a mortar and pestle), combine basil, cheese, oil, pine nuts and garlic; whirl until pureed. If made ahead, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.
Makes about 1 cup.