A simple, fresh basil pesto.
Courtesy of The Food Network
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.
You can easily buy basil pesto in all types of variations at the market, but you just can’t beat fresh basil pesto. Yes, it is a little more work but with fresh basil and freshly grated pecorino romano, the difference is impressive. Moreover, the color is more vibrant and markedly enhances the presentation of the dish.
Pesto itself is incredibly versatile. Traditionally served with pasta, it can easily be served as a sauce for meatballs, as a spread in sandwiches or burgers, mixed with butter to be topped on garlic bread or corn on the cob. The list goes on.
This recipe uses Pecorino Romano, but it can easily be substituted with other cheeses, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Parmesan or Romano. Besides cheese substitutions, no need to be overly adventurous because this pesto shines on its simplicity. Delicious as is.