gingybakes is 1 year old today! After a year of bakes, heaps of butter, and tons of photos, I want to celebrate with a recipe that has nothing to do with baking but still everything to do with carbs. This pesto recipe is versatile and great on pasta, pizza, and as a dip.
I eat this once a week, at least. And no matter where I take it, this pesto gets loads of attention. I used to work in a former-lunchroom-turned-office/cubicle-pen. There was obviously no lunch room since we used to be the lunch room, and so sat the fridge and the microwave amongst us all.
Within seconds of microwaving my pasta, the whole office knew what I was having for lunch. And similarly to microwaved fish, this created some bustle. But unlike the fish scenario, the pesto scenario was a magical one in which the aromas of the pesto would transport us all together to some faraway place (likely the Italian countryside) with its aroma of toasted pine nuts and fresh basil.
My coworkers always remarked on how good it smelled, even though this happened every week. People were jealous. It's that kind of pesto, and other types of pasta just can't compete. Sayonara, carbonara!
The key to making a good pesto is quality ingredients. For anyone familiar with the pine nut market in Canada, it's not great, and they can be real expensive. Pine nuts from Spain or Iran are the best and are long and thin. They add a delightfully sweet note to pesto that can't be beat.
Total active time: 10 minutes
Total time before mass consumption: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4 people
50g basil, in bunches
50g pine nuts*
1 small clove garlic
25g parmesan cheese, grated (plus extra for serving)
100ml olive oil
300g dry long pasta, such as linguine or spaghetti
*The pine nuts can be replaced with the same quantity of toasted walnuts.
Tools & equipment
Food processor or blender
- In a small pan, toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Refrigerate until cool to the touch. This step is a must! If we don't cool the pine nuts before blending the ingredients, the warm pine nuts could cook the basil.
- Remove the leaves of basil from the stems and add them to the bowl of your food processor or blender.
- Grate in the garlic clove using a microplane. No microplane? Mince the garlic and add it to the bowl.
- Once the pine nuts have cooled, reserve a tablespoon for serving. Add them rest of them along with grated parmesan to the blender.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a good amount salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente.
- When your pasta is almost ready, add the olive oil, a healthy pinch of salt, and a few good cracks of pepper to your blender.
- Blend until very smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Drain the pasta and reserve some of the pasta water.
- For a creamy pasta, add the pesto to the noodles and about 1/4 cup of pasta water at a time, mixing vigorously to emulsify. I like mine on the oily side. For this, simply add the pesto to the noodles and stir. Top with grated parmesan and reserved pine nuts.
- Bon appétit!