Translated from Italian, the word pesto means “pounded.” The classic version combines fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese, pounded to a paste in a mortar and pestle. Made in the food processor, our version includes balsamic vinegar and lemon juice for a touch of acidity and replaces some of the basil with fresh parsley to mellow the flavor a little.
- 2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
- 3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, loosely packed (stems removed)
- 2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup pine (pignoli) nuts
- 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the basil, parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, pine nuts, cheese, salt and a few grinds of black pepper to the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 5 days.
How to use pesto:
• Toss with cooked pasta and serve as a side or main dish
• Spread on toasted baguette, top with chunks of tomato and fresh mozzarella
• Use in place of red sauce on pizza
• Use as a spread on a grilled mozzarella sandwich
• Mix into a classic vinaigrette to dress a salad
• Use as a topping for hamburgers or grilled chicken sandwiches
• Spread on broiled fish or chicken