It's important to use pine nuts and not walnuts as some recipes state - the difference is amazing. This is a great Italian sauce that's best with pasta.
Making pesto by hand in a mortar produces the most authentic and delicious results but a food processor on a low setting can be used to gently and minimally chop leaves before proceeding.
Delicious tossed with pasta, pesto also makes an excellent topping for pizza. Try a little served along with grilled chicken or drizzled over slices of ripe summer tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
¼ cup pine nuts
2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed, peel removed
Coarse sea salt
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place pine nuts in a medium skillet and heat over medium-low heat.
Cook, occasionally shaking the pan back and forth over the heat, until nuts are toasted, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer nuts to a plate to cool completely.
Rinse basil and gently, but thoroughly, pat dry with paper towels.
Place in a processorwith cooled pine nuts, garlic and pinch salt.
Use the food processor on a low setting to turn basil into a paste.
Add both cheeses into mixture to combine.
In a slow and steady steam, add oil, keeping processor on lowest setting (as if you were making mayonnaise).
Pesto is best used the same day but keeps, its surface covered with a thin layer of olive oil and tightly covered, chilled, for 3 days. You can also hermetically seal it in a jar.
To dress pasta, toss with hot pasta (just cooked and drained), add a tablespoon or two of butter and toss again. Serve at once.