If you are a pasta lover like me, I’m sure Pesto is included in your top ten favorites. Although I am not a fan of veggies especially the green ones, the unique and aromatic taste of basil leaves blended with the sting of garlic and saltiness of parmesan cheese always leave me wanting for more.
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto genovese) [Source: Wikipedia.org]. Traditionally, the ingredients used are basil leaves, garlic and European pine nuts blended with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk). The reason why pesto sauce is so popular is due to its versatility. You can use it on your pasta, baked chicken, and other recipes.
Unfortunately, in the Philippines, some of these ingredients are only available in high-end supermarkets and are very expensive. So here’s my ‘Filipinized’ version of Pesto sauce recipe.
- 2 cups of Basil leaves
- Olive oil
- 3 tbsp of roasted Peanuts (optional)
- 2 cloves of Garlic
- 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
The good thing about making pesto sauce is that you don’t really have to open your stove. Estimated time of creation is about 20 minutes or less.
1.) Roast the peanuts in a heated frying pan (without oil or anything) til it turns yellow to medium brown. Be careful not to burn them. This should only take about a minute or two.
2.) In a food processor (or blender if you don’t have one), add the basil leaves, peanuts (a cheaper substitute for pine nuts/walnuts), and garlic. Blend in low speed and slowly add in the olive oil. I did not give an exact measurement of how much olive oil you should use. I like my pesto sauce a little loose while others like to keep it thick. It is best if you pour in your oil gradually til you get your desired thickness.
For an added kick, you can use extra virgin olive oil. I like the flavor of basil to stand out more so I prefer using the regular one. Some use canola oil as a substitute just in case olive oil is not available. It is cheaper. However, it has a distinctly different taste than olive oil.
3.) Gradually add the Parmesan cheese. If you are a little ‘OC’ like me, make sure you taste your sauce every time you add a new ingredient. You want to regulate and neutralize all the flavors so that your sauce wouldn’t end up too salty or too stale.
4.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
Viola! There’s your Pesto sauce!