A mortar and pestle is the best tool for making pesto as the pounding works wonders releasing the basil’s essential oils; however, the sauce is nearly as good when made with a food processor or immersion blender. When tossing together pasta al pesto, add a tablespoon or two of the (cooled) pasta water to ensure a creamy, velvety texture.
Featured in “Everything You Need to Know about Basil Pesto,” by Erica Firpo.
- 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, preferably Italian
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 cup packed basil leaves
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if storing (see footnote)
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- ¼ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
Note: Topped with a thin layer of olive oil and stored in an airtight container, the pesto will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator and 6 months in the freezer.