All the way from Northern Italy, Pesto is a simple sauce for pasta made with fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese. No pine nuts in the house? Use crunchy breadcrumbs instead...
- pestle and mortar or bowl and a rolling pin (or food processor)
- clove garlic
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts or crispy breadcrumbs
- about 20 basil leaves
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
Put the garlic clove into a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt - the salt makes it easier to mash up the garlic. Keep mashing until it's a pulp. If you don't have a pestle and mortar, use the end of a rolling pin and a bowl.
Add a tablespoon of pine nuts or crispy breadcrumbs and grind again with the pestle and mortar to crush the pine nuts.
Add about 20 basil leaves and quickly grind again until the basil leaves are broken into small pieces. Try to do this quite quickly to help keep the bright green colour - the longer you bash, the darker the leaves go.
Grate 40g Parmesan cheese - hold the handle of the grater with one hand and push the cheese downwards over the grater teeth. Always keep your fingers away from the grater teeth as they're very sharp.
Add 4 tablespoons olive oil to the mixture and mix really well with a spoon. Add freshly ground black pepper and mix well.