Mario Batali shares his fast tips for perfect pesto.

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[SOUND] Now I'm gonna use pesto in both of these dishes. So the first thing I'm gonna make is the pesto. The key to understanding pesto, big leaf or little leaf basil. When you're in Liguria, they use something called [FOREIGN] basil. If you've seen it at the fancy grocery stores, it's right next door to the regular basil. It just costs a lot more. It does have a slightly less bitter flavor, but if you grow your own basil and don't allow it to sit too long on the vine, that's where the bitterness comes from. It's a lot of exposure to the sun. You can also allow some of your big basil leaves at the top of your plant to grow and kind of create a canopy under which the smaller ones will grow, and you will harvest those, leaving the bigger ones to kind of dry out. But at the end of the day even if you just bought commercial basil, you're gonna be in good shape as long as you understand some of the basic premises of making pesto. Pesto is not thin. Pesto is dense. It is a paste. It looks like spackle. It shouldn't look like a vinaigrette or a salad dressing. So put less oil in and you'll understanding. Also don't run the machine very long. Long. You don't want to break it up too much. You just want to create a kind of chopped, rough chopped feel to it. So, the first thing I put in is garlic. If you have sweeter garlic put in a little more. For this much basil I wouldn't put in anymore than four cloves. Garlic's good, but the whole idea in Italy is to eat as much garlic as the person you want to make out with. [LAUGH] Exactly that amount. If you do that youre in good shape. If there's an imbalance bad things happen. So now i'm gonna put about three cups of basil leaves just freshly picked. Sometimes depending on what time of the year it is if after a rain happen and we're picking our basil often times what a rain will is it'll hit the soil and Spit little bits of sand up onto some of the leaves. Sometimes you have to wash it, sometimes you don't. We generally wash it all in very cold water. We allow it to soak so it kind of re-vibrates and gives it a little bit more vitality. Then we spin it dry and we put it in a little wet bag to hold. But we wouldn't do that more than an hour or two before we're gonna make our pesto. I'm going to put in some salt now, coarse salt we're looking to create something that will chop up these basil leaves. So I don't turn it on, I pulse it. And I don't pulse it very long. That's it. That's all it needs. Now it looks like roughly chopped parsley that's a good thing. So now what we're going to do is we're going to add our pine nuts. if you toast your pine nuts you'll get much more intense flavor. If you're using them in a salad or meatball that's a good idea. In a pesto we want them to become delicate and a backnote. Kind of Coltrane's trombone guy. Just a little bit. You don't want to hear it very much. So I put in a small handful to my basil. Now I'm going to add extra virgin olive oil [UNKNOWN] if you have it, Tuscan if you don't Bertolli's an excellent product. The light one, I don't know, I'm thinking to use that as a massage oil. Quarter cup maybe, but not too much. Start with less, always less. The one thing about italian cooking Less is more. Albodanza is a myth created by us rich Americans thinking that because we have so much stuff, if you just put a little bit more in it's going to be a little bit better. Well that's what's wrong. When you go to Italy and you have your best pasta, Pasta you've ever had in your life, and there's almost nothing on it. It's because they understand that the white noise is no longer just white noise, it's actually clouds in the way. So what you're looking for is to retrain these things, put a little bit less Blasted everything, and you'll suddenly discover, wow, that's starting to taste a little bit more like Italy. So now I'm going to pulse this. Pulsing, pulsing, now that is almost done. I'm gonna take about a quarter-cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, the indisputed king Of cheeses. And I'm gonna add maybe another three or four table spoons of [UNKNOWN] olive oil. And I'm [UNKNOWN] that [SOUND]. And that my friends is pesto. It should look like that. It should come up Out of the bowl. Holding it shape. It shouldn't be thin. It shouldn't be textualist. It should be exactly that. [BLANK_AUDIO]
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How to Make Pesto