Pesto

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From the story The Happy Forever Community Garden Bears Fruit by Simona Carini

Author’s version inspired by the recipe from the Pesto Championship, adapted to include some local ingredients and units of measure, as well as the use of a food processor.

Note: the translation of weight to volume for the two cheeses is approximate, since it depends on the grating method. I use the food processor, fitted with the disk with the smallest holes (2 mm), which shreds the cheese finely.

2 bunches of fresh sweet basil leaves (2.5 ounces of leaves)
1 big or 2 small fresh garlic cloves
A scant ¼ cup of pine nuts or ⅓ cup walnuts, toasted for a few minutes in a dry skillet
1 teaspoon coarse salt
¾ cup aged Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated using the food processor (about 2 ounces; see introductory note)
A scant ½ cup Fiore Sardo cheese (pecorino from
Sardinia), freshly grated using the food processor
(about 1 ounce; see introductory note)
¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Wash the basil leaves in cold water and dry them on a towel without rubbing them, otherwise the vesicles containing essential oils, located on the leaves, will break and cause oxidation of color and flavor, with a resulting dark and grass-tasting pesto.

Mince the garlic and toasted nuts in the food processor. Add the salt and the non-pressed basil leaves, then start the food processor again. When the basil drips a bright green liquid, add Parmigiano and pecorino. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil through the feeding tube. Process only until blended, to avoid overheating the mixture by attrition. Use immediately.

Makes one cup

Note: The olive oil should be sweet and mature, because, besides acting as solvent for the aromatic substances, it binds all ingredients together. On the one hand, olive oil highlights the flavor of basil, while on the other it tones down that of garlic.

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