Pesto Change-OOctober 26, 2009
Pesto 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!