Italian Basil Pesto…a Classic Italian Meal

By Jodee Weiland

One of my favorite Italian sauces to make for pasta is Italian Basil Pesto. When I was a child growing up in Italian family, I never had this sauce on pasta at home. I’m not sure why, but it may have had something to do with what picky eaters children can sometimes be and to be perfectly honest, I was the worst offender.

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Nonetheless, as an adult, I came across the recipe for basil pesto and finally, decided to try it. The first thing I did was check out all the different recipes for basil pesto available to me. After searching through a number of recipes and variations, I finally came up with my own adaptation of this classic recipe through trial and error. Even my close friend, Ann, who hates pine nuts, loved my pasta with Italian Basil Pesto when I made it for her a while back. My husband and other family members love it as well. As a result, this recipe now brings back many good memories of meals and a bottle of Chianti shared with family and friends that I love.

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Italian Basil Pesto…a classic Italian meal

2 cups fresh basil leaves packed tightly
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon chopped garlic clove or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (more or less, depending on desired consistency and thickness)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

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Blend together the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and black pepper until finely chopped in a food processor or blender. Gradually add oil to this mixture to attain a smooth consistency and thickness (your preference). Finally, add the Parmesan cheese into this mixture. You can add more salt and black pepper to taste once it is blended.  Basil pesto can be made two days ahead or just before it is needed. If made ahead, cover and refrigerate it. I like to double the recipe and freeze some for later.

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Basil pesto is the traditional pesto that was first created in Genoa in Northern Italy. Mix the pesto with the pasta of your choice. Then serve your pasta with a little fresh Parmesan Reggiano and enjoy! This dish goes great with Chianti. Try it and make some memories of your own. Pasta and a little wine have a way of making a meal feel like home for me!  Enjoy!