For certain, pesto is the besto and the perfect recipe for pesto makes it even better. Pesto is a straight forward recipe, but it's the subtle adjustments that take it from great to extraordinary. Like the use of fresh basil, high quality pine nuts, the addition of a saltier stronger flavored cheese like Romano with the Parmesan, an extra virgin olive oil that isn't bitter, savory sea salt, and a touch of lemon juice to brighten up the taste and help keep it fresh longer. NO JUNK!
I wish basil wasn't so seasonal. I can grow it indoors in the winter but it's slow to grow unless you put it under grow lights and I'm not going to set up an indoor garden. Grocery stores don't always have it and it can be expensive. The cost of basil and pine nuts can really drive up the cost of this recipe. If you know you like pesto and you're going to use it often there are things you can do to ease the cost.
- Purchase your pine nuts in large quantities. Keep them in the freezer to prevent them from going rancid. (Costco has a good price; good quality.)
- Buy two or three basil plants and place them in a well watered, well draining soil in a very sunny place in your yard. More is better, you can always give some to family and friends.
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- 1 C Pine Nuts (Pinyon) - (Keep them in the freezer to preserve them)
- 1 ½ C Fresh Basil - (Coarsely chopped, loosely packed, or a large cereal bowl full of whole leaves (rounded). A little more if that's your preference)
- ½ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil - (Maybe a little more if needed)
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice or Citric Acid granules - (Usually ¼ tsp = 1 Tbsp of lemon juice)
- 2 cloves Garlic - (1 Tbsp. Roasted garlic is a good option to the flavor)
- ¼ C Romano - (I like an ⅛ cup of both Parmesan and Romano. Romano is better flavored to me, but also saltier)
- ½ Tbsp Sea Salt - (Or Himalayan pink salt. Less if you think salt is poisonous)
- Add the nuts first, then add olive oil almost to the top. Blend to a chunky texture, then start adding the basil in, a handful at a time (all if your processor has the capacity), and blend to medium coarse texture. (Don't let it get creamy)(At this time, adding a little more olive oil or all of the olive oil helps in some blenders)
- Add the rest of the olive oil with the garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Run a short blend cycle, just enough o blend the garlic in. Add the cheese last.(Don't over blend the cheese please)