KIDDOCJJ
KIDDOCJJ
EAT. LEARN. EXPLORE. INSPIRE.
 

pESTO GENOVESE

Pesto Genovese was thought to originate many centuries ago in Italy. However, the classic recipe as we know it, was first documented in 1863 and made simply from basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and dried Italian cheese. Although Italians are very strict about how to make pesto (hand pressed with a mortar and pestle), there are easier ways to make this fragrant raw sauce, and I have a few tips to keep its brilliant green hue. Let's do this!

Health bonus:  pesto provides protein from the nuts and cheese, healthy fat from the olive oil, blood pressure lowering effects from the garlic, and a nice calcium boost from the cheese.

IMG_2628.jpg
 
  WHAT YOU NEED:   - 6 cloves garlic  - 1 bunch (approx 8oz) fresh basil  - 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (pignoli)  - 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano (I used mix of both - parmesan is nutty/buttery, and romano salty/sharp)  - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil  - 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar  - salt and pepper

WHAT YOU NEED:

- 6 cloves garlic

- 1 bunch (approx 8oz) fresh basil

- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (pignoli)

- 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano (I used mix of both - parmesan is nutty/buttery, and romano salty/sharp)

- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

- 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar

- salt and pepper

 - food processor, blender or mortar and pestle (I use a small mini-chop for this - I have to say it holds the ingredients exactly (2 cup capacity) and makes for much easier cleanup. I'm ALL about that!)  - container with lid and extra olive oil

- food processor, blender or mortar and pestle (I use a small mini-chop for this - I have to say it holds the ingredients exactly (2 cup capacity) and makes for much easier cleanup. I'm ALL about that!)

- container with lid and extra olive oil

  INSTRUCTIONS:   1.  Place garlic cloves in the bowl of food processor with a pinch of salt.   TIP:  Don't worry if the brown nibs on the ends of the cloves are there or if any are bruised. The ONLY thing to be concerned with is removing any green sprouts from your garlic - they are super bitter and don't add to the flavor.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Place garlic cloves in the bowl of food processor with a pinch of salt. 

TIP:  Don't worry if the brown nibs on the ends of the cloves are there or if any are bruised. The ONLY thing to be concerned with is removing any green sprouts from your garlic - they are super bitter and don't add to the flavor.

 2. Process until roughly chopped.   

2. Process until roughly chopped.

 

 3.  Next, add all your toasted pine nuts.   TIP: If you have leftover pine nuts, keep them in the freezer - they go rancid easily at room temperature due to their higher fat content.  If you aren't a fan or can't find them, use toasted walnuts (or even peanuts) instead.

3.  Next, add all your toasted pine nuts. 

TIP: If you have leftover pine nuts, keep them in the freezer - they go rancid easily at room temperature due to their higher fat content.

If you aren't a fan or can't find them, use toasted walnuts (or even peanuts) instead.

 4. Process until mixture looks like super chunky nut butter.

4. Process until mixture looks like super chunky nut butter.

 5. Put your basil in a colander and gently rinse.   6. Lay it out on a towel, roll up and gently pat dry.   TIP: If the stems are woody, cut them off. Otherwise you can include the soft, bendable thinner stems in your pesto. They add tons of flavor.

5. Put your basil in a colander and gently rinse. 

6. Lay it out on a towel, roll up and gently pat dry. 

TIP: If the stems are woody, cut them off. Otherwise you can include the soft, bendable thinner stems in your pesto. They add tons of flavor.

 7. Add 1/2 the basil to the bowl of your food processor, about 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 the olive oil.

7. Add 1/2 the basil to the bowl of your food processor, about 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 the olive oil.

 8. Once processed, it will look like this.  9. Add the rest of the basil and remaining olive oil and process until smooth.

8. Once processed, it will look like this.

9. Add the rest of the basil and remaining olive oil and process until smooth.

 10.  Now add the cheese and process.  TIP: You might have noticed we haven't added salt yet. The reason is that both the cheese and the nuts (depending on whether they had salt added) have contributed to the flavor profile already. Now's the time to taste and adjust the flavor with salt and a little more pepper.  If you want your pesto a little more buttery, add a few more pine nuts. Conversely, if you like it brighter, add a little more vinegar and give it a couple of pulses.

10.  Now add the cheese and process.

TIP: You might have noticed we haven't added salt yet. The reason is that both the cheese and the nuts (depending on whether they had salt added) have contributed to the flavor profile already. Now's the time to taste and adjust the flavor with salt and a little more pepper.  If you want your pesto a little more buttery, add a few more pine nuts. Conversely, if you like it brighter, add a little more vinegar and give it a couple of pulses.

 11.  Your finished pesto should look like this - bright green, slightly rough in texture.  12. To store, put in a glass container with a lid. Smooth over the top and pour on a thin layer of olive oil.  TIP: A layer of oil over pesto will help prevent air from oxidizing the top and changing the color from verdant green to unappetizing brown.   Pesto Genovese can stay in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, or for up to 6 months in the freezer. Just remember if you dip into it, smooth the top and re-cover with olive oil.  SERVE WITH:  1.  Pasta - put al dente pasta in a pan, along with a cup of pasta water and the pesto. The pasta water will loosen the pesto so it flows over your pasta. Heat gently until the sauce thickens and the pasta finishes cooking. Top with cheese!  2. Over cream cheese for a dip or spread  3. Mixed with a little olive oil - veggies or breadsticks can be dipped in - YUM!  4. Topping eggs, fish, poultry, or grilled veggies.  5. Use your imagination. Make it. Eat it. Doctor's orders.

11.  Your finished pesto should look like this - bright green, slightly rough in texture.

12. To store, put in a glass container with a lid. Smooth over the top and pour on a thin layer of olive oil.

TIP: A layer of oil over pesto will help prevent air from oxidizing the top and changing the color from verdant green to unappetizing brown. 

Pesto Genovese can stay in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, or for up to 6 months in the freezer. Just remember if you dip into it, smooth the top and re-cover with olive oil.

SERVE WITH:

1.  Pasta - put al dente pasta in a pan, along with a cup of pasta water and the pesto. The pasta water will loosen the pesto so it flows over your pasta. Heat gently until the sauce thickens and the pasta finishes cooking. Top with cheese!

2. Over cream cheese for a dip or spread

3. Mixed with a little olive oil - veggies or breadsticks can be dipped in - YUM!

4. Topping eggs, fish, poultry, or grilled veggies.

5. Use your imagination. Make it. Eat it. Doctor's orders.