While this is definitely not our first time making pesto, it’s definitely the best pesto that we’ve ever made. The key to not having a pesto that packs an overwhelming punch to your palate is using a mixture of fresh basil and spinach. Another delicious finding we made this time around, roasted pine nuts. They are less oily and more crunchy making them delicious on top of salads, on their own, or in this delicious pesto.
For this particular pesto, we also used a high-quality Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese that grates so fine it was the most delicious cheesy dust. It’s the fourth cheese that’s part of APO Agriform’s ‘From the Heart of Europe’ Campaign and it’s definitely one of my favorites so far. As its name suggests this cheese is made in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, but can also be made in parts of Modena, Mantua, and Bologna. Ranging in age from 12 months to over 30 months, Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the most well-known Italian cheeses, and for good reason. Its flavor is unmistakably delicious!
This cheese was made in the first cheese houses in the Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries of Parma and Reggio Emilia since both rings have the best water resources and pastures. Plus, this cheese is still made the very same way with the same ingredients as it has for the past nine centuries.
— How to determine the age of your cheese —
Red Stamp — Over 18 months
Silver Stamp — Aged for over 24 months
Gold Stamp – Aged for over 30 months (stravecchio)
Bronze Stamp – Aged for over 36 months
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves, packed
- 1/3 cup Roasted Pine Nuts
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup EVOO
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, finely grated (plus more for topping)
- Pinch of Salt
Note: Before you make the pesto, make 1/2 box (8oz) Conchiglie Semolina Pasta and set it aside.
For the Pesto: Add freshly washed basil, spinach, and roasted pine nuts to the food processor and pulse several times. Add garlic and cheese and pulse. While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. This will help keep the olive oil from separating. Season with a pinch of salt.
Add pesto to pasta, mixing to coat all of your noodles. Be careful not to mix too vigorously to avoid breaking up your noodles.