I love what I do, I just hate the restaurant business and this is why I somethings find myself going in the Kitchen at very odd hours so that I don’t have to deal with the bullshit and I am left alone to just cook. Its those times in the middle of the night after I’ve had a great night and my mind is racing and the music is playing that I hit that sweet spot and am able to just create without the distraction of the business.
It’s a simple “condiment” or sauce that’s made with Basil, olive oil, garlic and some type of nuts, most of the time it’s pine nuts but I like to use almonds. Like all of the recipes on this site, there’s a lot of room to play. You can adjust the consistency with the amount of oil you use as well as how fine you blend the mix. Just like the red sauce, it can be rustic or thin, sweet or spicy, depending on your taste
Pesto is nothing new, it’s simple and tasty and like most things, its a lot better if you start off with fresh ingredients and make it yourself. Most of the time you need to use a food processor but if you have the time and really want to put the effort into it, you can make it with a Chef’s knife and board or use a mortar and pedestal which is the traditional way of making it. All I had when I did these photos was my knife, it worked and it turned out to be the best damn pesto I’ve ever made.
Mise En Place
- A Knife and Board or a Food Processor
- Fresh basil: Get a large bunch of it from the farmers market. Pull the leaves and trash the stems.
- Garlic: Fresh peeled garlic, don’t use that shit in a jar.
- Olive oil. You don’t have to use the ultra expensive stuff but don’t use the ultra cheap stuff either since the oil really does add a lot of flavor to the final product.
- Nuts. As I said before, you can use any kind you want but traditionally Pesto is made with pine nuts. The nuts are what give the Pesto its body and hardiness so keep this in mind when choosing both the type and the amount.
Method of Preparation
- Regardless of what you use to mix, you want to start off with your basil, then add the garlic, then the oil and the nuts. You’re going for a fine blend and this is why it takes so long if you make by hand, but well worth it in the end. Taste what you’re doing and adjust as needed. If you need to add more nuts, add em, if the mix is too thick then add a bit of oil. Play with it till it feels right.
- Basil has a lot of variety so do yourself a favor and talk to the vendors at the local farmer’s markets. Not only do they have the best stuff, they can give you a lot of ideas and advice on how to cook it.
- On that note, feel free to try different types of nuts or even flavored oils in the mix