Pesto is an Italian sauce which is prepared primarily from herbs, by crushing them. The key ingredients in this sauce are basil and garlic. It is a very popular food owing to its taste, composition, and texture. This creamy sauce is incorporated with other ingredients like parsley, nuts, and olive oil. Pastas are usually served along with pesto and grated cheese. This sauce is widely manufactured by industrial processes, but it is also possible to make it at home if the ingredients are available with you.
The basic process of preparing this sauce consists of combining different herbs and spices together. You will require a food processor for this purpose. In case you do not have one, you can crush the herbs with a mortar and pastel to form a smooth paste.
- Fresh basil leaves - 2 cups
- Pine nuts - ¼ cup
- Garlic - 2 cloves
- Pecorino cheese (freshly grated) - ½ cup
- Kosher salt to taste
- Black pepper (ground) to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil - ⅓ cup
- Mix the pine nuts, basil, and garlic together in a food processor. Let the basil get chopped before adding the olive oil to this mixture.
- Now, add half a cup olive oil to the chopped ingredients and blend them till they become completely smooth.
- Add the pepper and salt to this mixture as a seasoning. Now, add the remaining olive oil to it and blend it once again in the processor.
- Then, transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix the freshly-grated cheese with it.
- You will get the best taste of this sauce after it has been frozen for at least one month in an airtight container.
- Before consuming it, allow the oil in it to drizzle out and the cheese to thaw.
An Italian Pasta dish garnished with pesto sauce is one of the traditional foods of Liguria. It can be a vegetarian dish made from the fresh beans, or a chicken salad. Dollops of the sauce are added to pasta dishes. Given below are the basic steps for preparing this dish at home.
- All-purpose flour - 2½ cups
- Beaten eggs - 2
- Milk - ½ cup
- Butter - 1 teaspoon
- Salt - 1 pinch
- Pesto Sauce - 1 bowl
- Prepare the dough by mixing the flour, eggs, milk, butter, and salt together. Knead it till it becomes smooth, and then cover it with a bowl for some time.
- Then, roll it onto the kneading surface and cut it into different shapes and sizes for the pasta. Let it dry completely, so that you get the desired taste and texture after it is cooked.
- Boil water in a large bowl and cook the pasta in it. Add a pinch of salt to it. Drain the extra water from it when it has been cooked.
- Pour the freshly-prepared pesto over the pasta and mix it gently. Make sure that the pasta doesn't stick to each other. Let the sauce soak into it for some time.
- Serve the dish hot, after topping it with finely-chopped tomatoes. You can also top it with sliced chicken roasts or roasted beef sticks.
This sauce is also added to Italian pizzas to retain the traditional flavor of the dish. It can be added to both, non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian pizzas. It tastes best when the dip is freshly-prepared. You can purchase ready-made pizza dough or prepare it at home. Given below is the process of making the pizza.
- Freshly-prepared Pesto Sauce - 1 bowl
- Pizza dough
- Mozzarella cheese - 3-4 cups
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (shredded) - 1 cube
- Preheat the oven to 500 °F for baking the pizza.
- After kneading the dough, pour the desired quantity of pesto sauce over it. Coat this with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Finally, cover the dough with a thick coating of the mozzarella cheese before placing it inside the oven.
- Let it bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust becomes a little crispy and the cheese melts completely. Serve hot.
Pesto sauce gives a unique and delicious herbal taste and aroma to dishes. You can simply prepare the sauce and store it in the refrigerator for future use.