This beautiful, fresh pesto is packed with flavor.
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I was blown away at how simple it is to make such flavorful pesto at home. I do not however own a Mezzaluna knife but instead just used my largest chef's knife and had great results. Whatever pesto I don't use right away I tend to freeze in serving size zip lock bags with about four or five tablespoons each. This way I've always got pesto handy for whenever the urge hits.
In fact it freezes quite well. I like to portion it into 2 or 3 tablespoon portions first. I line a baking tray with plastic wrap and portion the pesto and place each portion onto the baking tray and then freeze it.
Once it's frozen I then take all of the portions and throw them into a ziploc or in to a vacuum pack machine (removing all of the air really extends its freezer life).
Pesto if stored properly will keep for months in the freezer!
I used to be the female Singing Chef in Chicago, where I'd teach cooking and also teach karaoke, while the stews were simmering. I grew up own purple organic basil last year, and had great success, but with the surplus didn't know what do to with it, until I discovered pesto and tried several recipes. A few months ago I was in a restaurant supply store and found a German Mesa Luna for 1/2 off, and bought it, (not knowing what it was for, but since most of my cutlery is German, I just added it on impulse.)
Then I received this video on Pesto using the Mesa Luna. Immediately I zoomed off to buy the ingredients, and made it. Superb! la la la la la, I'm still singing its favors. I especially loved the consistency that held together so beautifully.
You can use Walnuts or Almonds instead. I even know of someone who uses cashew nuts. It it not "classic" way to make pesto, but that never hurt anyone. The flavor of course will be a bit different but not much. In fact many stores that make pesto and sell it, actually use almonds instead of pine nuts as they are cheaper...read the ingredients.
Perfect! I wanted to use the mezzaluna, but ran out of time, so had to use the food processor. As recommended I added the olive oil in a bowl instead of the food processor to keep the rustic texture. I have lots of basil in my garden so I made a triple batch, most of it in the freezer. Served over the excellent Gnocchi recipe also on this site. The only change was to double the garlic to meet my families desires for LOTS of garlic. I also used higher quality cheeses and olive oil with tremendous results.
this recipe is very good and similar to the tradicional one invented in Genova ,Italy. If you want to be as much tradicional as possible then use a marble mortar and a pestle, that's where the name comes from.
But the food processor nowadays is so much faster ! as italian i'm absolutly horrified by the possibility to use other kind of nuts, then it's not Pesto alla genovese, but some other thing, maybe very good but nt our Pesto! Pay attention to the quality of the olive oil you use , it has to be an extra vergin possibly a delicate one from Liguria (italian Riviera)
You are so right Matilde, I recently bought an extra virgin olive oil from Liguria and it was so great. The flavor was just as you described it "delicate" but still full of flavor.
p.s. I see that one of your favorite desserts is Tiramisu, do you have a recipe for it? Or any feedback to making the perfect one.
I'm used to making pesto 5-10 gallons at a time at restaurant I work at. So you can imagine the skepticism at which I looked at your recipe... "why go through each ingredient individually when I can just buzz them all down at once?!?" Boy was I wrong. Your way definetly yields a better product. Even though it's still impractical at work...:(
Glad you like it...I also love the texture of this pesto...just in case you missed it, here is a Drill-down for making it in a food processor as well http://rouxbe.com/drilldowns/208
Just in time for all of the basil that is seems to be growing so nicely!
You may already have a great substitute for a mezzaluna in your kitchen. A good pizza wheel can perform the same task in an almost identical fashion. I prefer the design of the Zyliss, but almost any good pizza wheel will do, as long as it is not one of those silly cheap stainless ones you might find in the local supermarket.
Many pizzerias use really large mezzalunas to cut up their pizzas; turnabout is fair play. :)
I tried this out tonight using the food processor method. It turned out great. I'll have to remember this for those days when I know that I won't have much time to cook. I'm pretty sure it took longer to boil my water for the pasta than it did to prepare the pesto.
I tried out Cook's Illustrated's version of pesto today because I wanted to try this extra step: They say to take the garlic in it's skin and heat it in a dry pan (moving it around) for about 7 minutes until it darkens slightly or you get a nice aroma. What is this step exactly? Is it a quick way of (sort of) roasting the garlic? Then I was instructed to peel and chop it up with toasted pine nuts.
I did find it not as "garlic-y" as I remember when making with raw garlic. Not better - not worse... need to do some tasting tests against this recipe. Anyhow - have you ever heard of treating the garlic this way specifically for pesto? Am I getting extra layers of flavor? What's the deal? Your thoughts appreciated... thanks.
Yes, you can roast garlic in a pan. Roasted garlic will have a mellower flavor compared to raw garlic, which is why I suspect they tried this. It seems as though it is just another variation for making pesto.
This is the great thing about cooking - you can experiment/tweak/adjust/improve a recipe once you understand techniques. Just like our salsa verde - we took the tomatillos and decided to roast them for a variation and wound up with another really delicious salsa. Sometimes the good old fashioned way is still the best, but it doesn't hurt to try different variations. You might find something that suits your tastes better. Good for you for trying. That's what it's all about. Cheers!
I made this pesto yesterday and am eating it tonight (on pasta) and oh my goodness, what a difference from commercial pestos. I could eat this by the spoonful, just to enjoy the manifold layers of flavour. I am so glad I have healthy basil plants this year!
Thanks for a terrific recipe!