Authentic pesto, from Italy
This is one of those recipes that has simple ingredients, appears easy to make, but difficult to get it right.
Tools: mortar and a wooden pestle
You can use a blender, but the taste of the Genovese pesto is augmented by the fruits of patience and expertise in its preparation.
Ingredients: (for 4 people)
2 oz of Genovese Basil leaves, small and fresh (young)
6 tbsp of Parmigiano Reggiano
5 tbsp of Extra virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of pine nuts
Salt & pepper to taste
1 lb spaghetti or thin spaghetti
Wash the basil leaves and dry well with paper towels.
Start by pounding in the mortar the garlic, using the pestle. When the mixture reaches a creamy consistency, add pine nuts. Add the basil leaves a little at a time. Crush them with the pestle in a circular motion to the left and turning the mortar to the right. The basil oils release, add some more salt to keep the green color alive. Add the parmigiano cheese, mix and dress evenly with the oil.
Secret tip: This process should take place at room temperature in the shortest possible time. This is to avoid that the basil oxidizes and releases a bitter taste that would compromise all of your hard work.
Continue pounding in the mortar until the 3 ingredients have fully blended.
Boil water. Throw pasta and cook till al dente. Save some pasta water. Strain pasta, return it to pot. Mix in basil mixture, add pasta water as needed, stir till it gets creamier and covers the spaghetti. Plate the pasta, add some sauce on top, drizzle with evo if needed, sprinkle grated cheese, and garnish with fresh basil leaves.