“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Joy of Pesto

First off, I would like to introduce you to a wonderful blog that I discovered called“A High School Foodie.” It is run by high school student Russell (as you could probably guess by the name) and has a number of delicious recipes, both indulgent and healthy. Make sure to add it as a favorite!!

For me, Pesto is like water. I must have it. Water has so many benefits and can be used in a number of ways, just like pesto! You can use it as a marinade, a dressing for salad, add a few tablespoons to a sandwich or a side of vegetables, pasta, the list is endless. Pesto can be used however you like it! Spread it on some nice crusty bread for a snack; add a few tablespoons to your pizza for a little zing. Do whatever you want with it!!

Here is a little history about our dear friend, Pesto. Pesto originated in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil and pine nuts mixed with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano and Fiore Sardo. My Pesto Genovese it a mostly traditional, except for the fact the I sometimes make it with walnuts instead of pine nuts. There are so many variations of pesto, traditional, tomato, sun dried tomato, spinach, cilantro, arugula. I love pesto and if you have yet to experience, I encourage you to try these recipes with some nice al dente pasta and I dare you not to fall in love with it, the way I have!

Pesto Genovese
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely
½-3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 – ½ cup pine nuts or walnuts (to taste, some people like more, some people like
less)
Crushed red pepper
Salt +Pepper
Full head of fresh basil


Warm your garlic very slowly in the olive oil until it gets just slightly golden. DO NOT BROWN. Add crushed red pepper to taste, add nuts to the oil, brown very lightly. Let it all cool. Put your basil leaves and thin stems into the food processor or blender. Add your oil, garlic and nut mix, salt and pepper to taste and process. Some people like a coarse pesto which is more traditional, others like a smoother one. This would traditionally be made in a mortar and pestle and would be coarse, some people enjoy using this traditional method. Either way, it’s delicious.

Tomato Pesto

Fresh tomatoes (any size, cherry, plum, even large, just chopped coarsely) end up with two cups chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely
½-3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts (to taste, some people like more, some people like less)
Crushed red pepper
Salt +Pepper
Full head of fresh basil

Warm your garlic very slowly in the olive oil until it gets just slightly golden. DO NOT BROWN. Add crushed red pepper to taste, add nuts to the oil, brown very lightly. Let it all cool. Put your basil in the blender, chop it a bit. Then add your garlic nut mix, salt and pepper and tomatoes last. Try to keep them a little chunky. This is also makes an amazing bruschetta!!  If you have some fun ways that you enjoy pesto, please comment and let me know how you enjoy it! Buon appetito!!