Pesto is quite possibly one of my all time favorite foods. It’s so versatile, especially in late summer when your herb garden is overflowing with basil. Enjoy it on pita, crackers, toast, pasta, or even as salad dressing. I’ve seen quite a few variations popping up lately, from kale and walnuts to arugula, but to me, pesto with any other combination of nuts and greens just doesn’t taste like my mother’s traditional Italian version. While many Italians would prefer to use the time tested mortar and pestle to pulverize their ingredients, my mother happily used her food processor to accomplish the same goal, and that method carries with me still today.
The most traditional recipe calls for sweet basil leaves, toasted pinoli (pine nuts), fresh garlic, and reggiano parmesan together with a sprinkle of good, first-pressed olive oil. The proportions are 4 to 1 with fresh basil being the full portion and each of the others being one quarter. Add salt and pepper to taste after processing all ingredients together in your food processor.
If you don’t have the time to make it yourself, my recommendation is to visit Russos Italian Market or Wegmans Olive Bar for the best in store bought traditional Italian pesto.