Today we get to make Pesto. I love pesto. I’ve made it many times, and always by the food processor method. I’ll give you a little history of pesto that Marcella explains in her book. It is the sauce the Genoese invented for the use of their very fragrant basil. The components of their pesto are olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, butter and grated cheese. And of course the basil. You don’t cook or heat pesto (except on occasion when adding it to things such as soup). The word “pesto” comes from the verb pestare, which means to pound or grind. So Genoese cooks say if it’s not made with a mortar and pestle, it’s not pesto. That probably is the best way to make it, but many of us are too lazy or don’t have a mortar and pestle to use. So we can make this version I’ve made that uses the food processor. It’s very fast and easy to make, and has that alluring fragrance and taste that all good pestos have.
In this method you put basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and salt in the food processor and process to a creamy consistency. You transfer it to a bowl, and stir in grated romano cheese and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. You then mix in softened butter. I was very suprised to see the butter as an addition. I had never heard of that. But it did make the sauce creamier and it coated the pasta better. Marcella suggests serving the pesto on dried spaghetti or a homemade fresh fettuccine. I was planning on using spaghetti until I went to pull it from the pantry and discovered I was out. Instead, I used a pici pasta that I bought at the local Italian market. It was a fantastic meal.