Thursday, January 27, 2005



Goodness! It's about time I posted a pesto sauce recipe. From Italy's Ligurian region comes this heavenly jewel-green sauce, which can be used with any shape pasta you wish. (among my favorites: cappelini (angelhair), tortellini, and penne. But don't limit yourself to using it just on pasta. Use it as a spread for panini, those gorgeous Italian sandwiches made with crusty Tuscan bread, bufala mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, prosciutto, and a basil leaf or two. Mix it in with homemade or a good quality store-bought mayonnaise and you have a great dip for raw veggies. Put a tablespoon or more (to your taste) in your favorit soups or stews. Spread it over grilled chicken or fish. Wash your hair in it, or put some in the tub and soak in it. Use your imagination! One can never have too much pesto!

4 cups basil leaves, well packed
4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
1 cup pine nuts or walnuts (or a combination of the two)
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese (or a combination of the two)
1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place basil leaves and garlic in food processor or blender and process until leaves are finely chopped. Add nuts and process until nuts are finely chopped. Add cheese and process until combined. With the machine running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. After the oil is incorporated, turn off the machine and add salt and pepper to taste. If not using immediately, store in an air-tight container with a thin coating of olive oil on top to keep the sauce from turning dark. Pesto will keep well in the refrigerator for a week or more. This recipe yields approximately 3-1/2 to 4 cups, and can be halved.

Using Pecorino cheese and increasing the quantity of garlic will yield a more intense, sharply flavored pesto. Some people prefer to toast their pine nuts. Using walnuts yields a more woodsy flavor. The amount of olive oil can be adjusted depending on the desired final consistency (thicker or thinner).

My god, a woman with liberal political views, and a gormet cook! will you marry me?
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