Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings Spaghetti al Pesto
- 45 leaves freshly picked basil (about a packed cup)
- 1/4 cup grated aged pecorino (Tuscan or Sardinian, because Romano is too sharp)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano (increase this to 3/4 cup if you cannot find the pecorino)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2/3 cup the best olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pine nuts (technically optional though almost everybody includes them)
- 1/3 cup walnut meats (optional)
- 1 pound (500 g) spaghetti
If you are using a food processor instead, chop the garlic, basil, nutmeats, and salt, being careful not to let the mixture liquefy, then transfer it to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese and the oil.
Cook a pound of pasta in lightly salted water, and just before you drain it stir two tablespoons of hot water into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve. The wine? The bitter sea tang of a good Vermentino would offset the garlic perfectly.
This sauce is also perfect for making lasagne al pesto, which are amazingly refreshing on a hot day, perhaps even more so when served cool.
Yield: 4-6 servings spaghetti al pesto.
My Reply to Rasna36:
I know that in Liguria people serve trenette rather than spaghetti with pesto sauce. Indeed, the photo shows trenette al pesto, made with the string beans and potatoes Ligurians generally add to the pasta. Outside of Liguria, however, trenette are not as popular, and many people use spaghetti instead. Not strictly authentic, but I find this substitution less bothersome than, say, substituting Gorgonzola for Parmigiano. I've seen that, too, and it makes for a very different sauce I'm not sure I would call Pesto alla Genovese.
Kyle Phillips, Your Guide to Italian Cooking