A while back, I made a really bad pesto sauce. It was arugula-based, which isn’t patently offensive, but there wasn’t enough “other stuff” to balance out the bitterness, and it was pretty much inedible. So, when I suggested pasta with pesto as a side dish for a dinner I cooked for friends this week, Jason was understandably concerned.
This time, though, I followed a very classic, tried-and-true recipe (this specific one came from Bon Appetit magazine, but there are thousands of variations). The results were much, much better! I made it the night before the dinner and then covered it in oil, which preserved the moisture very nicely. I also added a small amount of the pasta water to the sauce before adding the linguine, which helped everything to combine better. The sauce was delicious–slightly sweet from the basil, slightly salty from the cheese, and just chock full of fresh flavors. There’s no reason to buy pre-made pesto sauce when you can throw this together in mere moments!
Combine first 4 ingredients in blender. Blend until paste forms, stopping often to push down basil. Add both cheeses and salt; blend until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Top with 1/2 inch olive oil and chill.)