How to prepare the real Italian Linguini with Home Made Pesto Sauce
Basil is best at the height of summer. Still, in the middle of winter a nice pesto, is a breath of freshness and a super tasty sauce. Pesto originates in Genoa, mentioned as early as the 17th Century. The recipe as we know today with basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheese, appeared in the mid-1800’s. That recipe remains the true pesto genovese, but variants have spread and been adapted to local resources and tastes. The best ingredients yield the best flavor. Home grown or organic basil and garlic, a good quality olive oil, and the best imported Parmigiano Regiano, Grana Padano, and/or pecorino you can reasonably afford will be worth the effort in the final dish!
Ingredients for 6 people
- 50 grams fresh Basil leaves
- 2 Garlic cloves without peel
- 100 ml of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 50 grams of Pine Nuts
- 80 grams grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 cup of freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- Salt as you prefer
- 500 grams of dry Linguine (or Spaghetti)
- Wash the basil leaves and combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil gradually and process with the blender until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt.
- Alternative to Step 1. If using a pestle and mortar instead of a blender, add basil, garlic pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Start working with the pestle, pressing and rotating it until all the ingredients are nicely ground. Add the cheese and mix well, include the oil and continue mixing until well incorporated and smooth. Season with salt.
- Add the Pesto sauce to a glass container and cover the pesto on top with some olive oil to avoid the Pesto to become darker and preserve it well in case you need it.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the linguine. Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water until “al dente”, as from cooking instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pesto and toss. Taste for salt and add a drizzle of oil. Yummy!
TIP: These days a food processor does the heavy lifting, but if you have a mortar and pestle and are willing to spend a few extra minutes, grinding the nuts and garlic together before adding the leaves has a distinct effect on the texture of the sauce (See Step 2).
Posted by Nicoletta and Tiziana
The Real Italian Food. Buon Appetito!