Pesto, in the words of the great Marcella Hazan, is ‘the most seductive of all sauces for pasta’. I completely agree…so seductive.
The first time I had spaghetti al pesto as a child I remember contemplating never eating any other kind of pasta sauce ever again. Obviously I was an irrational child and clearly that never happened, but pesto is still, hands down, my all time favourite sauce for pasta. We’ve had a little bit of a love affair going on for a while now…
Pesto by law of the Genovese is not to be cooked nor heated through – what a crime it would be! Instead, reserve a couple of tablespoons of the water in which your pasta has cooked in, add it to the pesto to loosen, then simply toss it with your beautiful al dente pasta.
But who likes rules? I say go pesto mad wherever and whenever possible in whichever way you want.
Recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan
- Roughly 100g fresh basil leaves, rinsed with cold water
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped with salt
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons walnut halves
- 50g fresh parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
- 25g fresh pecorino romano, finely grated
- 8 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 40g butter, room temperature
In a food processor add the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, walnuts, olive oil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and blend to a creamy consistency.
Transfer to a bowl and by hand mix in the two cheeses until fully incorporated, then stir in the softened butter until is it distributed evenly throughout.
Makes around 400g of seductive pesto.
Note: To store your pesto pour roughly ½cm of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation and discolouration. It should keep for around 1 week in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before use in order to re-soften the butter.