I’ve been searching for the perfect basil pesto recipe for years to no avail. Which is funny, because, well, there aren’t a whole lot of variations out there. Almost all recipes call for the same 5 or 6 ingredients, all blended together in a food processor. This one, though, from celebrated Italian cooking expert Marcella Hazan, is a little different. It calls for two kinds of hard Italian cheese, not one, and you mix them in, along with butter, after you take the mixture out of the food processor.
I hit the jackpot with this recipe — the stuff is a-MAZ-ing! Though digging around on the web produced somewhat inconsistent results, it is also my understanding that this is the way pesto is made in Genoa, where the stuff originated. Sans food processors, of course — I’ll explore pestos made with a mortar and pestle and a mezzaluna later this week!
If you’d like to freeze the pesto, skip the butter and cheese, and cover with a layer of oil. When you’d like to use it, stir in the butter and cheese after it’s thawed completely.
Marcella Hazan’s Basil Pesto
- 2 Cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
- 1/2 Cup Extra virgin olive oil (good quality)
- 3 Tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Coarse salt
- 1/3 Cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2 Tablespoons freshly grate pecorino romano
- 3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1. Wash basil in cold water. Pat with paper towels until it’s completely dry.
2. Add the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, chopped garlic and a pinch of salt to the food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth, creamy, and uniform in consistency.
3. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. Add the parmesan and roman, and stir well to combine. Add in butter and stir until well blended.
Recipe Credit: Marcella Hazan