Nothing screams more Italian than a home-made pesto sauce that is bursting with flavor and goodness. You can buy pesto in a jar these days, and they do taste quite good, but they are also laden with additives, sugar and salt.
Besides, there is nothing that screams more freshness than a bunt of fresh leaves straight out of the ground. Any green leafy plant can be used to make pesto, but the most common one is basil. You can also use rocket, parsley, cilantro, even carrot tops. But if you plan to use tougher greens such as kale, you will need to put them in boiling water for a minute first.
- A large bunch of green leaves
- Two or three cloves of garlic
- 100 grams of dry roasted pine nuts
- Three quarters of a cup of grated Parmesan
- Salt and Pepper
- Half a cup of olive oil (a bit less or more depending on consistency)
This really is one of the simplest yet tasty things in the world that you can make. All you need to do is grate the Parmesan and chuck it into a blender with the rest of the ingredients. The secret is to not add the olive oil all at once as it will interfere with the blending process. You can use a pestle and mortar, but it will take absolutely ages and a lot of pounding to get it to the consistency that is needed.
Once it’s blended up, you can use it as a dip or you can just slap it on some bread and enjoy it raw. If you want something a bit more substantial, you can boil up some pasta (linguine or tagliatelle normally work well) and then just throw the pesto in top in a saucepan for a couple of minutes. Finish with a lug of olive oil and garnish with some of the fresh leaves and a few roasted pine nuts.