Made from fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and cheese, pesto is most common in Italy’s north-west, where basil grows abundantly.
1 clove garlic
30g pine nuts, lightly toasted
Sea-salt flakes, to season
70g basil leaves (about 2 bunches)
150ml extra virgin olive oil 40g pecorino, finely grated
40g parmesan, finely grated
Put garlic, pine nuts and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
Add . of the basil and drizzle with a little of the oil. Pulse until roughly chopped.
Add remaining basil and remaining oil, then pulse again.
Add pecorino and parmesan, then process until a smooth paste forms. Season with salt. For serving suggestions, see below.
Mortar and pestle: Put garlic, pine nuts and salt in a mortar and grind with pestle until a paste forms. Finely chop basil and add to mortar. Pound until a coarse paste forms. Pour in oil, a little at a time, mixing and grinding until a sauce forms.
By hand: Finely chop garlic, pine nuts and basil. Put in a bowl with salt, oil, pecorino and parmesan. Mix well. The result will be a much chunkier salsa-like sauce.
Allow 1½ Tbsp pesto to 125g cooked pasta per serve. Top with extra basil leaves and pine nuts.