Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pestle my Pesto!

The word pesto means "pounded" or "crushed" in Italian, called that because
the ingredients were pounded or crushed with a mortar and pestle.

When I first met my husband he called me his "Saucier" which in a French kitchen roughly means "one who makes sauce."  I was deeply flattered by his complimentary pet name, one which represented a secret passion of mine.  Needless to say we got married.  But alas, there was one sauce I had not mastered and was ashamed to admit it.


Who can't make pesto? Pesto is easy? I guess it is unless you screw it up!  "Once bitten twice shy," was the motto I lived by for years until the flood of basil from the garden this summer beckoned me to try again.  Here is the recipe I used but as in true Farmgirl fashion, made my own!

 Fresh Basil Pesto

note- I used substitutions for some ingredients that I did not have on hand.  I welcome you to experiment and do the same!
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese (I used Garrotxa, a Spanish goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, walnuts (I used almonds since I didn't have either.)
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Special equipment needed: A food processor, blender, or more authentically a mortar and pestle
1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes 1 cup.

Pesto Penne with Peas and Chicken

Add a 1/2 cup of cream to 1/2 lb of penne, peas, grilled chicken, a few tablespoons of your homemade pesto and voilĂ !

Now I think we've mastered it together!


1 comment:

Tender Branson said...

Beautiful, beautiful pesto. I can't believe you substituted the pine nuts for almonds. It turned out alright? There are a much cheaper alternative.