This blender pesto recipe is made with a handful of simple, vegan ingredients. Toss everything into the blender, pulse to your desired consistency, enjoy!
I there anything better than the aroma of delicate basil combined with parmesan, pine nuts, and a garlicky kick? Pesto is highly addictive and one of Italy's most famous exports. Eating pesto like there's no tomorrow, we use it to brighten up pasta dishes, spoon it into soups, and slather it onto pizza. However, to truly appreciate this addictive substance, you must know where pesto originated.
Where Did Pesto Originate?
Pesto is stems from the verb pestare, which means to pound or crush, and its roots can be tracked back to the 12th and 13th centuries. During this time, the Genoan republic ran south from the northern Italian port city to envelop Corsica and Sardinia. Genoans used ingredients from the republic's rich land to make pesto. Pesto was comprised of basil originating from Prà, pine nuts grown near Pisa, garlic from Vessalico, pecorino from Sardinia, Parmigiano Reggiano from Emilia-Romagna; and Ligurian olive oil and sea salt.
Since then, pesto is relentlessly associated with Genoa's culture. In fact, the city hosts a World Pesto Championship twice a year, that is open to contestants from all over the world. Furthermore, a group of resourceful pesto lovers intend to nominate pesto for UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
What Makes Traditional Pesto So Different?
Ligurian pesto is unlike any pesto you've made at home, and it is very different from store-bought pesto in a jar. Traditional pesto is vibrant green in color, creamy, with a flavor and depth, which can only be accomplished by crushing fresh ingredients with a pestle and mortar.
Another significant difference that sets traditional pesto apart is the inclusion of pecorino, made from Sardinian sheep's milk cheese. However, pecorino is usually omitted from Anglicised recipes. Aged pecorino is preferred because of its nutty, earthy flavor, but smaller portions of pecorino are used, so it doesn't overpower the flavor of the pesto.
What Ingredients Are Best For Making Pesto At Home?
When making pesto at home, always remember fresh is best! To make your pesto, use Basil fresh leaves. Your leaves should be young and sweet. Use the smallest leaves you can find on the bunch.
Toast your pine nuts lightly in a dry skillet before you add them to your pesto. The pine nuts will act as a thickener for the pesto. The soft pine nuts purée easily and give the pesto added body. Store your pine nuts in the refrigerator as they can quickly spoil. Smell and taste your pine nuts to ensure they are fresh before you add them to the pesto. Although sweet, rich pine nuts are often used to make basil pesto, you could use a mild-flavored nut, such as walnuts or almonds, as an alternative to pine nuts.
Just like basil, garlic must always be fresh. Cut your peeled cloves in half and remove the green germ. The green embryo has a bitter flavor and can aggravate the stomach.
Ensure your Parmigiano Reggiano has Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. This way you can be absolutely sure traditional techniques were used to produce your Parmigiano Reggiano.
Pecorino can be labeled as pecorino Romano or pecorino sardo, but both of these cheeses should also have a PDO label. Even though Romano is the popular choice, sardo's richness definitely the superior option.
Always use a premium quality extra virgin olive oil to make your pesto . Because pesto uncooked, the flavor of the olive oil is more pronounced. It is best if you select an olive oil that you like the taste of. To find out if you fancy the olive oil's flavor, pour a little olive oil onto a plate, then sprinkle with salt and pepper over the top and dip some bread into it.
Sea salt works better than coarse salt. It provides traction and helps to break down the other ingredients.
How Is Pesto Made?
Even though pesto enthusiasts consider purchasing store-bought pesto, or pesto made in a blender or food processor blasphemy, it is up to you which method you use. You can go the traditional route by using a pestle and mortar.
The first step of making pesto is to crush the garlic and sea salt. Once the garlic begins to soften, add the pine nuts, then the basil. Crush the basil gently against the side of the mortar, do not smash it into the base. Lastly, add the cheese, and gradually loosen the mixture with olive oil, until it yields a smooth combination instead of an oily pesto.
How To Make Pesto In A Blender
If you are not in the mood for an arm workout, make pesto in the blender! The blender's tapered design allows the ingredients to be pulled to the blade ensuring you end up with a smooth puree.
Simply add the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon, garlic, and salt to your blender and give it a pulse while gradually pouring in the olive oil. Blend for an additional 30 seconds until the pesto is thoroughly combined.
Can I Make Pesto Ahead Of Time And Freeze It?
Buy lots of fresh basil while it's in season, so you can make several batches of pesto. You will receive superior quality at a suitable price. If you intend to use your pesto within a week, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it. If you want to keep pesto for an extended period, freeze it. It will stay fresh for up to three months in the freezer. If you have extra ice cube trays lying around, pour the pesto into the trays, freeze it, and transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer storage bag.
Additionally, you can also freeze small portions of pesto in small plastic snack bags and place the small snack bags into a large freezer bag. Either way, you will have the perfect portions to add to your pasta dishes or dollop on top of your soup or stew. You can also place the pesto into a large freezer bag, then flatten the pesto in the bag. This method of freezing pesto can easily be defrosted by soaking the bag in lukewarm water.Print