Italy has been a consummate absorber of many cuisines that it has taken improved and perfected to make its own eclectic mix. From the Asian inspired flavours of the Veneto brought back by merchants arriving at this great maritime trading city-state, to the spices of Calabria, inspired by its Berber Arab invaders turned trading partners, the country is alive with flavours and culinary experiences to delight even the most experience and well-travelled palate. Katayama brings you some of this inspiration in its range of Italian products that captures this passion.

Basil Pesto

Basil pesto darkens when exposed to air, so to store, cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure the plastic is touching the top of the pesto and not allowing the pesto to have contact with air. The pesto will stay greener longer that way.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
Special equipment:
A food processor

1 Pulse basil and pine nuts in a food processor: Place the basil leaves and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times.
Add the garlic and cheese: Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
Stream in the olive oil: While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.
Stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper, add more to taste.
Toss with pasta for a quick sauce, dollop over baked potatoes, or spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread.
Tip: Mix in Katayamas ready to use pesto with some Peccorino Romana cheese for a convenient alterantive.

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