The classic from Italian cuisine is not only easy to make yourself but also really versatile – whether with fresh pasta, gnocchi, or as a dip with meat and bread. We have the best recipes and tips on how to prepare them.
Prepare pesto in a classic way – that’s what you need
The basic ingredients for a classic pesto are fresh Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), good olive oil, garlic cloves, and pine nuts.
For the red version, pesto Rosso, you also need dried tomatoes and chili powder, which provide a strong aroma. The classic pesto gets its radiant color from the addition of fresh basil.
In Italy, pesto is traditionally pounded in a large mortar (Italian: “pestare”) until it has the desired consistency. With this method of preparation, garlic, pine nuts, and herbs are first crushed into a creamy mass and then mixed with grated parmesan and oil. This allows the aromas to develop in the best possible way.
A simple alternative is a preparation with a hand blender or multi-chopper. To do this, first mix the herbs, garlic, nuts, and Parmesan and gradually add the oil until the desired consistency is achieved.
Prepare vegan pesto
Parmesan, Italian hard cheese made from animal rennet, is used to prepare classic pesto. This means that the pesto is neither vegan nor vegetarian. If you want to prepare your pesto vegan, you can either omit the parmesan or replace it with yeast flakes.
Which oil is the best?
If you want to make pesto yourself, it is advisable to use cold-pressed, virgin olive oil, as it has a strong taste and gives the pesto a great aroma. An alternative to olive oil is rapeseed oil, as it is less bitter and has a neutral taste. Walnut oil is also great for the base of walnut pesto, as it supports the nutty taste.
How long can homemade pesto keep?
Pesto can be kept tightly closed in the refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks. It is important that the glass is constantly covered with oil. It is also a great gift from the kitchen – filled in pretty glasses, you can give it away to your loved ones.
This is how you can make a delicious twist on pesto
If you find the classic variants too boring, you can also make great changes to pesto. Instead of basil, parsley, coriander or wild garlic provide a great taste. Also carrot or zucchini pesto. Adding fresh mint is recommended for a nice summer pesto. Walnuts, almonds, or pistachios are also great alternatives to pine nuts.
Pesto becomes particularly creamy by adding ricotta instead of parmesan. But also kale – or avocado pesto is a delicious variation of the classic and tastes really good with pasta.