Filed in archiveon April 24, 2006
Ooohhh la la! The smell alone brings on summer! Genoa in Italy is said to be the place of origin of pesto. It can be eaten alone with pasta, as a salad dressing (I love it more than any!), spread on toast and as a complement to almost anything - from tomatoes to eggs.
The thought of the basil plant and its potential at the height of summer overjoys me!
Pesto commonly uses basil but parsley and other greens can also be used. Bottled pesto can be bought from groceries nowadays, it is easy to make and fresh is still best.
My first forays into pesto-making, I used a stone mortar and pestle and then compared the results with those made in a food processor. The mortar and pestle pesto keeps its colour longer. I also prefer its texture. Taste-wise, they're almost the same. I would love to make pesto with a mortar and pestle each time but a food processor is not exactly a betrayal. Hehe!
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 large sprigs basil, approx 2 cups leaves
1 oz (25 grams) pine nuts, approx 1/4 cup
1 oz (25 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated
1 oz (25 ml) virgin olive oil, approx 1/8 cup
freshly ground black pepper
Method 1 (mortar and pestle): Crush the garlic till very fine. Coarsely chop pine nuts. With your hands, tear the basil leaves into very small pieces.
Place small amounts of the garlic, pine nuts and basil in the mortar. Pound with the pestle to desired consistency. Take out and mix in the cheese. Blend the olive oil and season with the pepper. Adjust according to taste.
Method 2 (food processor): Using a mortar and pestle, crush garlic. I prefer to have my garlic pounded for a finer texture and maximum flavour but it can be put straight in the food processor. Place the garlic in the food processor, along with the basil and pine nuts, and blend until uniform in texture. Gradually pour in the olive oil and blend. Add the cheese and blend again. Season with black pepper.
Your kitchen is guaranteed to be fragrant and your mouth will water!
Elise has a recipe for cilantro pesto you may wish to check out.
Permalink: The Simple Pleasures of Pesto
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