Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pesto from Lidia Bastianich

This recipe is based on Lidia Bastianich’s classic pesto recipe.The one thing you can’t skimp on when making pesto is good quality, fresh ingredients. The basil should be bright green with no wilted or curling edges and don’t ever use pre-grated cheese. Imported parmesan and pecorino cheese can be very expensive but you don’t need a lot. Alternatively, look for wedges of good domestic cheese in the parmesan and pecorino style.

Generous pinch of coarse sea salt or kosher salt
Generous pinch of crushed red pepper
60 small or 30 large fresh basil leaves, about 4 ounces with the stems on.
Remove stems. Rinse leaves and pat dry gently, taking care not to bruise the leaves.
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted*
2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano, finely grated
2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
3 to 4 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor or blender, add basil, salt, red pepper and garlic. In slow bursts, blend the ingredients into a paste. Add the pine nuts and 2 tablespoons olive oil and slowly blend together. The basil should still be bright green. Then add cheeses and gradually add the remaining olive oil, a bit at a time until everything is smooth and creamy. Check you seasoning, and stir in more salt if needed.