Spaghetti al Pesto
50 basil leafs
200ml extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
80g grated parmesan cheese
Without using any condiments, toast the pine nuts in a saucepan on gentle fire, being careful not to burn them and allowing their full flavor to come out.
A shortcut to the traditional mortar is to use a food processor. Choose basil leafs which have not flowered yet and remember that basil loses its flavor with water: clean it with a dry cloth. Basil also oxidise and becomes bitter with heat; to avoid so, put the food processor in the freezer 2 hours before using it. Place the basil, the pine nuts, the garlic, the salt, half of the oil, one ice cube and process them for no more than 10”.
Transfer the sauce from the food processor to a bowl, add the rest of the oil and the parmesan and mix it together: this is your pesto sauce. You may keep pesto in the fridge under a layer of oil, however it always goes off quikly.
Bring to boil 5 liter of water in a stainless steel stockpot. Add 40g of coarse salt, let the salt sits for 1 minute and add 400g of spaghetti. Don’t leave the spaghetti alone but gently stir them from time to time to prevent they stick together.
The key secret for a restaurant-like pasta: if you simply add your sauce to pasta which comes straight out of the stockpot, it will absorb all the moisture of your sauce and you will end up with a soggy dish. Instead, take the spaghetti out of the water three minutes before the time you would consider it ready, drain and put them in a saucepan together with 20g of extra virgin olive oil and 1 glass of the cooking water. Stir the mixture for 2 minutes until the pasta has absorbed the water.
Transfer the spaghetti on a large bowl, stir in the pesto sauce, it should provide all the seasoning you need and serve it on warm dishes. In Italy, we often add potatoes and potatoes and beans to this pasta: to do so, cook in boiling water for 10 minutes 150g of potatoes cute into dice of 0.5cm side and 100g of green beans cut into 4cm lenght. Add the cooked beans and potatoes to the sauce pan at the same time as the spaghetti and the cooking water.