recipes from the escobosa kitchen

Genovese Basil Pesto

From the former Chef at Farina in San Francisco—whose mandilli al pesto is still haunting diners even after he moved to Beverly, Mass—comes this incomparably silky pesto.

source La Cucina Italiana
Ingredients
for about 44 people
  • 2 ounces basil leaves (6 cups loosely packed)
  • 0.33 cup pine nuts, preferably italian
  • 0.33 clove garlic, any center green stem removed and discarded
  • 0.5½ cup fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon medium or flakey coarse sea salt
  • 0.33 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 0.33 cup freshly grated Fiore Sardo or aged Pecorino toscano cheese
Preparation
  1. Place blender jar or mortar and pestle in freezer to chill.
  2. Meanwhile, submerge basil in a large bowl of cold water; let stand 5 minutes. Using hands, gently lift leaves from water. Repeat twice, using rinsed bowl and fresh water each time. Rinse bowl again and fill with cold water. Soak the cleaned leaves in the water, 15 minutes.
  3. After basil has soaked, remove blender jar or mortar and pestle from freezer. Combine nuts and garlic in chilled vessel, then cover with oil. Purée or grind until nuts are very finely chopped and mixture is creamy, then add salt.
  4. In 4 additions, lift basil from water, shaking off excess but not all water from leaves (a bit of water will aid emulsification), add to vessel and, using 3 or 4 short pulses or turns for each batch, purée just to combine (do not over mix). Add cheese, then, using 2 or 3 very short pulses, mix just to combine.
  5. Transfer pesto to a small container. If not using within 30 minutes, cover with a thin film of oil and refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen pesto in refrigerator overnight or at room temperature about 1 hour.