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Pesto

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This recipe can be doubled very easily. At Spago we use a sweet olive oil, not too sharp and overwhelming, found in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This can be brushed over pizzas and fish, and it turns a simple pasta into something special. In Italy, pesto is generally made with a mortar and pestle, which probably accounts for the name, but it can also be done in a blender, so you will find both methods below.

To Prepare Ahead: Pesto can be prepared and refrigerated or frozen. Bring to room temperature before using.

If you own a mortar and pestle, use it to make this Pesto. You'll definitely notice the difference in flavor when the fresh herbs are stone-ground.

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 15 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Ingredients

  • 12 medium fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

In a mortar and pestle, pound the basil, garlic, nuts, and salt until thoroughly mashed. Add the oil, a few drops at a time, until you have a smooth paste.

Pesto can also be made in a blender. Pour in the oil first, then the garlic, nuts, and finally the basil leaves. Blend on low to a smooth paste. Season with the kosher salt.

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