Arguably one of the most classic Italian foods of all time, Basil Pesto, is the perfect mix of nutty, savory, and fresh. In its purest form, pesto consists of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, fresh basil leaves, and a hard cheese such as parmesan, all blended with olive oil. Traditionally the ingredients are crushed in a marble mortar through a circular motion of a wooden pestle to a paste. Nowadays, a blender or food processor will do the job.
Recently I bought fresh Cavatelli pasta, and it’s perfect for picking up the little bits of pesto sauce. If you can’t get your hands on Cavatelli, then you can use any other pasta you’d like. It can be served both hot, right out of the boiling water, or chilled in the fridge. Although serving pesto with pasta is the most traditional way it’s eaten, it is also delicious as a sauce for pizza, poured on top of salmon, or with some focaccia bread dipped into it. I like to top mine off with a little sprinkle of red pepper flakes for an added note of heat!