Here is how to make garlicky green pesto sauce packed with flavours in five minutes.
The first time I had the green pesto, I never knew what it was. I had just added it to my shopping basket because I liked the green(ish) look. I got home after my shopping and googled what it was…and boom! It was never found wanting on my grocery shopping list again. Homemade green pesto swirls perfectly with pasta and salads.
Pesto sauce originated from Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy; it is now one of the most used Italian sauces around the world. In case you did not know, pesto is traditionally prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. First, garlic and pine nuts (which can be roasted) are placed in the mortar and reduced to a cream, and then the washed and dried basil leaves are added with coarse salt and ground to a creamy consistency. The Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino are added last with a pinch of salt and pepper to add more flavour. These days, green pesto can be easily made with a food processor in just five minutes. If you plan to make that savoury looking Homemade green pesto, you are at the right place.
Homemade green pesto ingredients
To make four serves of green pesto: 2 bunches of fresh basil leaves, 125g Pine nuts, 2 to 3 Garlic cloves 150mls of extra virgin olive oil 125grams Romano or Parmisan-Pegiano cheese, salt, ground pepper flakes and fresh lemon juice (Optional).
Baby spinach can be subbed for fresh basil (PS: Basil brings out the traditional aroma of green pesto, use baby spinach only if you can’t find fresh basil). Walnuts can also replace Pine nuts. To make vegan pesto, substitute Romano or Parmisan-Pegiano Cheese for vegan cheese (dairy free).
How to make green pesto
- Drop your garlic cloves in the processor and add 125g pine nuts, blend for about 15 seconds.
- Add fresh basil and a pinch of salt and grounded pepper, blend for 15 seconds again.
- Add grated Romano or Parmisan-Pegiano Cheese and blend for 30 seconds.
- Add extra virgin olive oil and blend for another 30 seconds. You can pulse in-between to get desired texture but try not to over blend it. A perfectly blended pesto sauce should be quite chunky and not overly smooth. Scrape down the food processor with a rubber spatula.
How do you preserve homemade pesto?
You can preserve pesto by putting it in a plastic or glass container and refrigerating it. If you plan to freeze it, do not add cheese as it does not freeze well. You can freeze pesto in ice cubes and add grated Romano or Parmisan-Pegiano cheese when its defrosted and ready to use.
Utensils and tools in this recipe
Food processor, marble mortar and pestle (for traditional method) and spatula (You can buy any of the items on Amazon by clicking the link. This opens a new tab on your browser so you will still remain on this page).
Frequently asked questions about Pesto sauce
Do you have to wash the basil leaves before using?
You don’t have to watch the basil leaves, washing it might make your pesto look watery and lose that inviting look and feel.
What can you have Pesto sauce with?
Pesto sauce traditionally goes with spaghetti and pasta, but you can have it with almost anything you like, as a spread on sliced bread or toast, as a pizza dip, sauce for grains, noodles, salad dressing, you name it.
Why is my pesto sauce bitter?
This can be fixed by using standard olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil (which is the first press from olives) contains bitter tasting polyphenols coated by fatty acids, which prevent them from dispersing. If the oil is emulsified in a food processor, these polyphenols get squeezed out and the liquid mix turns bitter.
Why does pesto turn brown?
Basil pesto darkens when exposed to air. To avoid this, cover any leftover pesto with clingfilm or in a lidded container.
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