2. Some people prefer to mix half parsley and half basil to tone-down the strong basil flavor. I personally really dig that bail-goodness so I always go for 100% fresh basil.
4. You may think it’s nice to toast the pine nuts until they’re coloured, to give them a nutty taste, but, according to Jamie, the really good, truly Italian pestos just have them very lightly toasted, to give a creaminess rather than a nuttiness.
1 clove of garlic, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
a handful of pine nuts, very lightly toasted
a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
optional: a small squeeze of lemon juice
Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar, or pulse in a food processor. Depending on how much of a garlicky taste you like, go for either 1/2 a clove or a whole one. You can add more later if need be. Add the pine nuts to the mixture and pound again. Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.
Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it’s not essential. Try it with and without and see which you prefer.