One of the great pasta sauces, Pesto has roots in Genoa as well as ancient Rome, where similar sauces were made with herbs, garlic and oil. It is used in thousands of recipes.

Pesto Sauce (Salsa di Pesto)

Pesto Sauce (Salsa di Pesto)
Recipe type: Sauces
Serves: 3/4 Cup
  • 1/4 Cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 4 Cups water
  • 2 Cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic; peeled
  • 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons freshly-grated Pecorino or Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are golden brown. Transfer the nuts to a bowl to cool.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan, add the basil leaves, and blanch them for 1 minute. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon to a clean kitchen towel. Blot the leaves dry, then trans-?fer them to the bowl of a food processor or blender with the salt and garlic cloves. Pulse the mixture to grind up the ingredients. Add the pine nuts and pulse again until a uniform coarse mixture is ob-?tained.
  3. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube until a sauce consis-?tency is obtained that is not too thin. Remove the pesto to a small bowl and stir in the cheese. Transfer the sauce to a jar. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the sauce. This will keep the sauce from turning brown. Cap the jar and store the sauce in the refrigerator until ready to use. The sauce will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.

Comments: This classic Genovese pesto sauce is made from fresh basil leaves that are crushed in a mortar with a pestle. To save time, use a food processor. Blanch the basil leaves before grinding them to help preserve the sauce's green color.

Source: Ciao Italia at

Yield: 3/4 cup

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 968 Calories; 108g Fat (98.6% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 30mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Vegetable; 21 1/2 Fat.

NOTES : Recipe from "Mangia Pasta!" by Mary A. Esposito, (Morrow Cookbooks, 1998)

Be creative with your use of Pesto Sauce. It has been used on Crostini, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, grilled chicken and even steaks. Its flexible use make it the ideal sauce for an infinite variety of other recipes.

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