Ingredients for 1 kg:
- 30% of genoese Dop Basil;
- 3% of Vessalico garlic (a town in Imperia);
- 10-12% of first quality pisan pine-nuts;
- 20-22% of grated Parmesan Dop 30 months old;
- 5% of grated Pecorino Dop 15 months old;
- 1-1,5% of coarse sea salt;
- 24-26% of ligurian extra-virgin olive oil Dop (sweet and mellow).
Strip the basil leaves off the plant,wasch and dry them on ablotting paper or a centrifuge,paying attention not to squezze them. Place the cleaned garlic into the mortar, beat it with an olive wood or ash wood pestle untill it become a cream,add the pine-nuts and beat,mixing the ingredients together. Add basil and salt and squezze without beating for a long time,making a circolar moviment with pestle,while you twist the mortar in the opposite way,untill it’s all well amalgamated. Add cheeses,and,still rolling, add the olive oil slowly. If pesto is too thick,thin with a spoon of pasta’s boiling cooking water.
leaves , necessarily dry , must not in any way be wrinkled , because vesicles containing essential oils placed on the upper surface of the leaf , if broken, cause an oxidation of color and flavor , making pesto at first faded green – brown or green dark , and then green – black , with only an herbaceous aroma . Make pesto in an electric mixer , apart from being an emulsified sauce similar to a cream , warming because of the high-speed oxidizes and also quintuplicate the spicy effect of garlic conferred by allicina ( zinc sulphide ) . The mortar was and should remain a tool of the kitchen, because the crushed garlic in the mortar does not heat. Salt, being hygroscopic, put together with the basil leaves, under the action of the rotating pestle that finely chops basil, slows down the oxidation . The pine nuts , considering an addition made towards the end of 1800, may also be optional, although add softness for theire fatty acids content, which are also found in extra virgin olive oil. Garlic, instead , is obligatory because it finds a perfect harmony with Genoese basil . Who eliminate it (God punish him ) must have the honesty to not call it pesto, but rather basil sauce. Finally, why the oil must be mellow and sweet ? It is simple: the oil in addition to be a solvent for the aromatic substances, gives the perfect combination , enhancing the aroma of basil and mitigating the spicy garlic.
Prof. Virgilio Pronzati