Happy Columbus Day!
Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy - the land of great pesto - or as the Genoese call it: pesto alla genovese
The Genoese use a specific "basilico genovese,' which is a sweet variety of basil grown in Genoa. They also use Ligurian olive oil, excellent garlic, course salt, and grated cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano. The ingredients are combined with mortar and pestle for about 15 minutes, and then always served with pasta.
In honor of this Italian-American holiday, we've added a basic pesto recipe that can be made in a food processor or a blender in order to celebrate Columbus Day the best way we can: eating delicious Italian cuisine from his hometown!
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced.
With the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
Add the cheese and process very briefly, just long enough to combine. Store in refrigerator or freezer and serve over pasta.