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Pesto Change-O

October 26, 2009

pestoPesto was to the 80’s what beurre blanc was to the 20’s, a trendy sauce that became the rage of its national cuisine.  You couldn’t get pesto at the neighborhood family Italian eatery – you had to go to the hip spot on the Boulevard (whatever that means).  Of course it’s a commonplace sauce now, and available in jars in markets.

When I first discovered it, I loved it…it made pasta so much better than I’d ever had it before.  But as my taste became a little more refined, a bit more distinctive, I began to dislike the greasy taste that pesto left in my mouth, and the unappealing puddle of oil at the bottom of my bowl was, well…unappealing.  “There has to be a better way!” I cried to no one in particular.

So at some point in the late 90’s I created my own pesto, and have stuck with it ever since – I never order it or buy it jarred in stores anymore.

At first I used it exclusively for pasta, but over the years I have seen the value in using it with so many creations:  stuff it into tomatoes and roast or grill them, spread it on bread and make a Panini with mozzarella and prosciutto, or simply toss it with boiled red potatoes, as I did last night.  It’s a very versatile sauce – in fact a famous quote from the Bible is “Pesto cannot live on pasta alone!”  I might be paraphrasing.

So here’s my pesto recipe – it’s a much healthier version than what you’ll find in restaurants or in jars at the store…the consistency should end up more like a paste than a sauce, but if you like your pesto oily, then just add more oil.  This makes about a ½ cup, enough for pasta for two:

10-12 fresh basil leaves

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup pine nuts

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (or Romano or both)

¼ tsp. black pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

Put all ingredients in food processor.  Pulse until well blended.  Add additional oil if desired and pulse until it reaches desired consistency.  Eat!

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4 comments

  1. […] of my favorite brands.  Sometimes I’ll make my own tomato sauce, or my pesto sauce (see recipe here).  A simple pairing of olive oil and garlic is a good option, and once in a while the unhealthy […]


  2. […] a boring meal into a Recipe of the Week!  This spin-off of eggs benedict requires the use of the MHK’s famous pesto recipe; I added a bit more oil to it to make it more “saucy.”  I used bagels in place of the […]


  3. If you need any fresh basil, feel free to raid my garden.


    • Ok, thanks! Hope we don’t discover the bodies.



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