Ligurian Basil Pesto
To prepare a truly authentic pesto a mortar and pestle is necessary.
Sure it's easier to throw all of the ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and and buzz it around a few times, but the rewards of a more traditional preparation are more than worth the trouble.
So, to make pesto in the Ligurian style, roll up your sleeves...
It starts with a couple of cloves of garlic and a pinch of coarse sea salt, smash with pestle 'til soft.
Gently grinding the basil into a soft pillow of garlic paste, rather than pulverizing the herb using sharp blades, releases an intensely flavored bright green liquid from the leaves. This process of extraction will really intensify the fresh basil flavor.
few leaves of basil at a time, and adjust your pressure with the pestle
from smashing to gentle grind and swirl. Continue to add the basil a
bit at a time until you've incorporated about 50 grams of the herb. Your
paste is bright green, and its aroma profound.
Now its time to add a heaping tablespoon of pine nuts, and continue to grind with your pestle until the nuts are incorporated into the paste. I have to admit, I take a lot of liberties with my nuts, often substituting pistachios or almonds..
the sauce with about a quarter cup of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
or Grana Padano cheese. Then add 60 ml of the very best olive oil you
can lay your hands on. The resulting brightly colored mixture is pure
This is best consumed immediately, but can be stored of a few days in the fridge, or frozen for longer.
Always cover with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the basil from oxidizing.