How To Make Pesto Sauce

Traditional pesto sauce starts with one very important ingredient: basil. Fresh basil is abundant around farmers markets and can also be found in any local grocery store. If you do purchase fresh basil to kick off your pesto sauce, you can stick the remaining basil leaves in a cup of water to keep them from drying out. It's not difficult to learn how to make pesto sauce once you have the best ingredients and some proper techniques.

Ingredients You Will Need:
2 cups of basil
2 cloves fresh garlic
?" cup of pine nuts
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

How to Make Pesto Sauce From Scratch
Rinse and drain the basil and cut off the stems. Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Place the garlic in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the basil and pine nuts and continue processing until the mixture is smooth.

Begin drizzling the olive oil slowly into the processor as you continue to blend the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add the parmesan cheese. Be careful that the mixture does not clump on the sides. If it sticks in the processor, use a spatula to mix it together.

Store the pesto sauce in a bowl or storage container until ready to serve. This sauce freezes very well and can be saved for a later date when you're in a rush and need to whip up a quick pasta dish.

Variations on Traditional Pesto
This deceptively easy dish can come in many shapes and forms. You can experiment with different types of cheeses or nuts and add in other fresh seasonings. Try walnuts or Pecorino Romano cheese, lemon, olives or sun-dried tomatoes to create a different flavor from the original. You can add more or less garlic or cheese, depending upon the flavor you want. If you find the sauce too clumpy, you can drizzle more olive oil in for a lighter consistency.

Spinach Pesto
For a special type of pesto, you can combine the core ingredients and mix in four cups of washed, torn spinach. Blend the spinach leaves, garlic, basil and pine nuts in the food processor. While you're drizzling your olive oil and cheese into the mix, place a few more spinach leaves (a couple at a time) until the sauce is thoroughly mixed.

Serving Your Pesto Sauce
Your new pesto sauce can be a delicious topping for not only pasta, but also pizza, fish or chicken. It serves as a great base for certain soups as well. Pesto goes perfectly with linguine or fettuccini and even livens up a plate of penne.

If you decide to freeze your pesto creation, you can try it on many different types of food and see which combination is your favorite.

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