Since pesto is a generic term for anything that is made by pounding, there are several other pestos - traditional and modern. Pesto alla Genovese is the one that features basil and is the more well-known one. It's one of my favorites as it's refreshing, and can be served with both pasta or as a spread over toasted bread or crackers.
This takes all of 10 minutes to prepare, and you can easily freeze it for future use. It's a perfect way to use up the quick-growing basil in your herb garden or from the local farmers market, especially in the summers. I like serving my pesto pasta with some freshly chopped tomatos when serving, just to add a bit of color and texture.
Pesto alla Genovese
Created in My Kitchen
Yield: 6 servings
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
5 Brazil nuts
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1. Add basil to a blender and pour in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Blend till basil becomes a paste.
2. Gradually add in remaining ingredients beginning with the nuts. Blend in remaining olive oil until smooth.
3. Serve with pasta!
Notes: When making the pasta, cook it in salted water until al dente. Drain pasta and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss pasta with the pesto and add a little of the reserved cooking liquid if pasta seems too dry. Enjoy immediately. It's better mixing the pesto fresh with each meal, otherwise it will discolor.
To store, put pesto in an airtight container and pour olive oil to fully cover. Any exposed pesto will turn brown so be sure it has a nice layer of olive oil over it.
You can also freeze the pesto. If so, I'd recommend freezing in an ice cube tray so it's in serving size pieces.