To start off my Countdown to Rio, here is my Italian entry. After all, they got to the finals of the Euro 2012 (after beating Germany in the semifinals. I can still feel the pain). Pesto surely must be the most popular Italian export after the Fiat 500. Here in Britain you can even get it in petrol stations, so it must be good.
Having tasted the home-made version, you will never ever go back to the ready-made version of this dish and instead grow your own basil and bulk-buy parmesan or pecorino cheese when it’s on offer to ensure you can make it whenever you want or need it. And it takes only about 10 minutes to make, which makes it another of my ‘midweek wonders’.
Pesto Genovese (serves 4 portions of pasta)
- leaves of 1/3 of a pot of basil, that’s around 15g
- 20g pine kernels
- 2 garlic gloves
- 20ml olive oil
- 50g parmesan or pecorino cheese, freshly grated. Buy the whole chunk, you’re worth it!
I use a blender to chop the basil, pine and garlic with about 2/3 of the oil. Don’t chop it too smoothly, you want a bit of bite from the pine kernels.
If I have time or peace I transfer this into a mortar and work in the grated parmesan or pecorino using a pestle. On a Thursday night, when things need to move quickly and nobody has already lined up to do the washing up, I mix it all in the blender.
Either mix in with your pasta before serving or serve separately.
Oh, and please do let me know if you are still considering buying the ready-made stuff, ‘to save time’!