If there is one dish in the Italian cuisine where an aromatic extra virgin olive oil can truly shine, it has to be pesto. With such simple ingredients, it is of the utmost importance to use an exceptionally fruity extra virgin olive oil. We recommend a pungent Tuscan olive oil to complement the subtle peppery flavor of the basil.
Everyone knows the classic basil pesto recipe, but why not take advantage of the plethora of fresh greens available this time of year and mix it up? Add some depth by choosing greens that are packed with flavor such as a kale, arugula, spinach or watercress.
Pesto is often made to taste, so use the quantities below as a base and adjust to your liking. Alternately, vegan pesto is simple to make by merely switching out a couple ingredients.
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (try using an oil from Tuscany)
- 1 cup mixed greens (spinach, kale, arugula, watercress…)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- 1/3 cup Pignoli or Pine Nuts
- 2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
- Sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste
- Mix the greens, cheese, nuts and garlic in a blender of food processor on low speed, gradually pouring in the olive oil.
- Use a rubber spatula if needed to scrape down the sides of the blender to ensure thorough mixing of ingredients, then blend in the salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over your favorite pasta noodles
Yield: About 1 cup
- For a Vegan/Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free version, substitute the Parmesan cheese for 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast and serve over gluten-free pasta noodles.