Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pesto Pesto

Tonight I was in the mood for pesto.

(I promise the big weekend meal will be posted Friday or Saturday...the chicken in wine, asparagus risotto and cake....I mentioned it a few days ago.)

But tonight was for pesto!

Pesto is possibly one of the worlds oldest sauces. A few reports I've read state that pesto derives its name from the process in which it is created: pestatura (grinding leaves) in a murta (mortor) and pestellu (pestle). Presto Pesto!

Every sources does say this still creates the best tasting sauce, if...and only if the wrist twists the pestle and tears/grinds the basil leaves, releasing their essential oils and all their flavors! If the pestle is used to pulverize the leaves, the full flavors are not realized. It is said that creating the pesto in a food processor shears the leaves, blocking the cells from again, releasing their oils. It is also possible that too much heat is created by the machine erradicating the aromas and flavors.

All that is good and proper, but I don't have a proper mortar and pestle, so I can't really do that. So, I used my food processor! Pllllbttt on ancient Italian traditions!!! (just kidding)

So my Pesto...easy peasy:

Assemble your ingredients: (and quantities are approximates)
2 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts...toasted is much better!!!!
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1-2 garlic cloves (I had two large cloves and it was probably the amount of 4 medium cloves, too much garlic in my opinion)
Pinch or two of salt
Few grinds of black pepper

Give them a quick whirl.

After a quick whirl, all the goodies will look like this: The coarse texture you want.

At this point, turn the machine on and quickly drizzle in approximately:

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Soon your pesto will look all creamy and yummy and green. DONE!

I added my pesto to some pasta will some quickly sauted pieces of chicken. YUM!


Dancer in DC said...

Pesto is green goodness from heaven.

Stef said...

Looks delish!!!

Terri in WI said...

I love pesto, love it, LOVE IT! I do something that's without the pine nuts, tho, stolen from my very good friend Bev who can cook like a fiend! It's not as thick-ish, but finely snip or chop fresh spinach, add olive oil, pressed garlic, finely chopped basil, and whatever other spices you enjoy (usually no food processor for this one, but you could if you like). Zap it in the micro for a minute (brings out the flavors), then toss with the pasta. MMMM!! I've varied this a lot, with capers, crushed red pepper, onion, feta... whatever I was in the mood to experiment with.