Italian pesto sauce: 2 delicious ways

Who has not ever tried pesto and discovered an explosion of flavours in such a simple preparation? This Mediterranean recipe consists of a sauce of Italian origin perfect to use as a condiment in Italian typical dishes such as gnocchi, lasagne, cannelloni, and any type of pasta. In fact, you may have even seen it on pizza because of its great versatility.

Pesto is delicious as well as nutritious thanks to its ingredients. Hence, its use can extend beyond traditional Italian cuisine and also be used as a dip sauce on toasts and crackers or even as a dressing for your salads in order to boost their flavour and nuance. Due to its great utility, today we want to show two options of pesto sauce. Apologies in advance if you can’t choose a favourite one.

The following recipes, both the traditional and the one with dried tomatoes, will not take more than 15 minutes to prepare and can be kept in the refrigerator for a week to, as we say, use in various dishes. In this case, it is convenient to use an airtight jar and cover it with extra virgin olive oil, that is, leave a layer of oil on top before closing it.

Also, remember that you can always be creative and substitute the Parmesan cheese for another typical cheese in Italian cuisine such as pecorino, or another of your choice. You can also change the pine nuts for another type of nut such as walnuts, almonds, or even the pistachios. Either way, your pesto will be delicious.

Ingredients for the elaboration of both pesto sauces

Traditional Italian pesto with basil

40 fresh basil leaves

1 small garlic clove

1 pinch of coarse salt

100 g of grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons pine nuts

3 tablespoons of extra virgin oil

Dried Tomato Pesto

100 g of dried tomatoes

2 teaspoons capers

2 teaspoons dried oregano

10 fresh basil leaves

20 g Walnuts

10 g Pine nuts

3 tablespoons of extra virgin oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 small garlic clove

1 pinch of coarse salt

Process of making both pesto sauces

Traditional Italian pesto with basil

Start by toasting the pine nuts in a frying pan without oil, this will release the pine nuts natural fats and give a more authentic flavour to the sauce. Don’t let them burn, they just have to be golden brown.

The traditional way of preparation is using the mortar, in which the garlic and salt would first be added and mixed well. Then you would add the pine nuts, basil, Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil to taste.

On the other hand, this recipe admits the use of a hand mixer or food processor to finish faster. In this case it would be convenient to have the liquid, that is, the oil at the bottom, then the cheese and the basil, and finally, the garlic, the pine nuts and the salt.

Pesto with basil, pine nuts and olive oil
Pesto with basil, pine nuts and olive oil

Dried Tomato Pesto

Start by putting a saucepan with half a litter of water on the stove and when it is about to boil add the vinegar. Wait until it is boiling to blanch the dried tomatoes for 5 minutes.

While you can toast the pine nuts and walnuts (or other nuts of your choice) in a pan without oil, exactly as we have explained in the previous recipe. The idea is to roast them golden brown so they can release their oils and aroma.

When the tomatoes are cooked, drain them and pat them dry with a cloth to remove excess water. Finally, add all the ingredients to a blender glass to blend, or to a food processor.

But if you prefer the traditional method, proceed to mince the ingredients with the mortar, starting with the garlic and salt, followed by the nuts, and then adding the basil and tomato and, finally, the extra virgin olive oil.

Dried tomato pesto
Dried tomato pesto with extra virgin olive oil
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