Jonathan Gold is the Pulitzer Prize winning food critic for the LA Weekly. He recently was a contestant in the Los Angeles Semifinals of the World Pesto Competition. The finals are held in Genoa, Italy, every year.
This is the official recipe of the competition:
Mortar-Made Pesto Sauce
4 bunches Genoese basil
30g pine nuts (1 oz)
445-60g Pecorino Sardo cheese, grated (16 oz)
1-2 garlic cloves
10g coarse salt (1/3 oz)
60-80 cc Extra-Virgin olive oil from the "Italian Riviera" (1/3 cup)
The marble mortar and wooden pestle are the tools traditionally used to make pesto.
Wash the basil leaves in cold water and dry them on a tea towel but don’t rub them.
In a mortar finely crush the garlic clove and pine nuts until they are smooth. Add a few grains of salt and the non-pressed basil leaves, then pound the mixture using a light circular movement of the pestle against the sides.
Repeat this process. When the basil drips bright green liquid, add the Parmesan cheese and the Fiore sardo cheese.
Pour in a thin layer of PDO extra-virgin olive oil from the Italian Riviera, which lightly blends the ingredients without overdoing.
The preparation must be done as quickly as possible to avoid oxidation problems.
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