Fresh, homemade pesto is fantastic. But it has a weakness.
Basil tends to oxidize when heated up or left exposed to air, which means that your lovely, bright-green sauce will often turn brown before you get to serve it – still delicious, but not ideal. So here’s a classic basil sauce that won’t turn brown the minute you toss it with hot pasta! The trick: blanching the basil before making the pesto.
The perfect basil pesto – all of the flavor, none of the funky brown color!
You may think that blanching the basil will take away some of its spunk, but be assured that it doesn’t. Indeed, the technique won’t take an ounce of flavor out of the aromatic leaves.
This extra step only adds a few minutes to the preparation of your pesto, but it’ll give you a bright green sauce that will make all your favorite pesto dishes look as good as they taste.
More pesto recipes
Basil pesto – one that will stay bright green!
makes 1 cup
active time: 20 min
- 2 teaspoons sea salt for blanching
- 1 large bunch fresh basil (4 oz) (115 g) – leaves removed from stems (3 cups lightly packed)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Reggiano or Grana Padano Parmesan
- 1 large garlic clove – skinned
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Step 1: Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a fast boil. Add the salt and basil leaves and blanch for 15 seconds only. Immediately remove the leaves from the boiling water and place in the ice water bath. Once cooled (this only takes a few seconds), drain. Squeeze the leaves to remove all excess water and lay them on a paper towel.
- Step 2: Using scissors, cut the basil in 1″ pieces. Place the basil and balance of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 1 to 2 minutes until it forms a creamy paste, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a container. Use right away, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.