The wonderful classic Italian sauce is a powerhouse of flavors. It is beautiful green, delicious and extremely flavorful thanks to the bold ingredients. Traditionally pesto is a sauce based with fresh basil with an addition of olive oil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and fresh garlic. It might seem like it is super easy to make just blend all of the above in the food processor but in order to achieve the best possible taste, consistency and balance of flavors there are a couple of trick to making perfect pesto sauce.
Basil is a quintessential ingredient for the pesto sauce however you can experiment with other greens like arugula, kale and spinach. I recommend using at least 50% basil if not using 100%. You can also help release the aromas of the basil by the technique called bruising. To do this add the basil leaves and any other herbs to a large resealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin to pound and bruise before adding to the processor.
Fresh garlic flavor is extremely pungent and bold and truly can be overwhelming in pesto. You can tame the garlic by toasting it first with the peel until brown spots appear. Or you can use less fresh garlic.
Use high quality olive oil to add a rich, robust flavor. But of you are not a fan use a lighter tasting oils like avocado or grape seed.
Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts. Toasting them will really enhance the flavor and give it a lot of depth. The oils in the nuts will warm up and become extra aromatic. You can also use walnuts, almonds and even pecans.
The cheese choices are pecorino Romano or Parmesano Reggiano. Both are savory and pungent with parmesan being a little bit creamier with a slight nutty flavor.
Pesto is an amazing addition to so many dishes. It will enliven and give a whole new life to them. Whether it is the star of the show and served with complimenting pasta or is used as a dip or a topping. This full-bodied sauce is a true masterpiece. Follow this recipe and the best results are guaranteed.