Pesto is probably the most versatile sauce out there. Not only is it so easy to make, you can do almost anything with it.
This summer, I grew an exceptionally good bunch of basil, hence my venture into pesto-making.
For this basil pesto, I used five key ingredients, basil, garlic, olive oil, nuts, and parmesan cheese. I made two varieties of basil pesto using two different types of nuts; pine nuts and cashew nuts. But really, you can use any type of nut you like.
I find that when you lightly toast your nuts, you get more aroma and flavour out of it. This can be done either stove-top, microwave or the oven. I toasted my pine nuts on my stove for about 3 minutes until they became lightly golden.
Making pesto is easy and you can make it in two ways. You can either use your trusty pestle and mortar and grind all the ingredients together, or you can use a hand blender to make the sauce altogether.
In the blender, first grind your garlic, toasted nuts and basil before putting the rest of the ingredients in.
Your use of garlic is a good indicator of how spicy you want your pesto to be. For my pine nut and basil pesto, I crushed 1 and 1/2 garlic cloves and for my cashew nut version, I crushed one large clove for less heat.
Olive oil can be poured gradually onto your sauce as you grind your ingredients. This, for me, ensures that the consistency of my sauce will be even. After grinding the ingredients together, transfer them to a small bowl and mix your parmigiano reggiano thereafter.
The sky’s really the limit in making pesto sauce, you can use whatever ingredients you want in making pesto and that’s what makes this sauce so amazingly wonderful! Other great varieties are sun dried pesto, cilantro pesto and pistachio pesto which are my absolute faves (on top of my basil pesto bien sûr!).
If you’re feeling bold and seeking for more wonderful pesto flavours, see this awesome link from Saveur!
Enjoy making pesto et bon appétit!