Pesto is a classic Italian staple that can be used for a wide variety of recipes. From a pasta sauce to a marinade for chicken, this rich, oily, and herb-centric concoction is one of my favorites from Italy. There are some rules that you should follow if you want to ensure a delicious pesto sauce when making your own. Be sure to stick to these!
Choose a Quality Olive Oil
The base of any pesto is the olive oil that you use, and you won’t want to opt for the cheap, low-quality stuff. Choose a lighter, extra virgin olive oil that will let the delicate flavors of this Mediterranean gold shine through instead of making the sauce heavy and unpleasant.
Splurge on Pine Nuts
Some pesto recipes omit pine nuts in favor of other, cheaper ingredients, but real pesto contains chopped pine nuts and tastes all the better for it. The crunch and nutty flavor that this somewhat expensive ingredient adds is worth the money you will spend on it.
Grind and Blend Lightly
It can be all-too-tempting to just throw your pesto ingredients in a blender, wait 30 seconds, and call the job done. Instead, use a mortar and pestle to do an initial grind of the ingredients in your sauce and then place in a blender or food processor on low in order to retain some of the chunkiness of the sauce.