Cooking Techniques

Pesto

Kitchen Notes

If you want to make your cooking more vibrant, look no further than pesto. An uncooked sauce of herbs, nuts, cheese and oil, pesto makes a wonderful topping for pasta, but tastes equally delectable dolloped on grilled meats, poultry, fish, vegetables and bread. It keeps well, so I always like to make a double batch and freeze what we don’t eat at first sitting.

Basic Ingredients

The classic pesto of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil comes from Genoa, Italy. But nowadays pesto has become the catchall term for any herb, cheese, nut and oil combination. Oregano, cilantro and parsley all make a fine pesto in their own right.

Easy Steps

There are two approaches to making pesto: mortar and pestle or food processor. Of the old and the new, I say try a combination of the two: the food processor makes grinding the herbs, garlic and nuts much easier while folding in the oil or butter keeps the pesto lighter and less compact so it spreads easier.

Tasty Combinations

  • Basil, Parmesan and Pine Nuts with pasta
  • Cilantro, Walnuts and Ricotta Cheese with grilled salmon
  • Parsley, Almonds and Goat Cheese with grilled vegetables

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