Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pesto. Show all posts

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Almond & tomato pesto

Not all pesto is green, you know.

This Pesto Trapanese, from the town of Trapani in Sicily, is adapted from the recipe in Giorgio Locatelli's "Made in Sicily." I was tasked with doing the pasta course for a dinner a few evenings ago, and this wound up being a pretty big hit.

It doesn't get much easier than this, either. All we're talking about is almonds, fresh tomatoes, garlic and mint (yes, mint, not basil). The only thing that's cooked is the pasta.

Lightly toast around 1/2 cup of almonds in a 350 degree F oven for several minutes, then chop.

Mix the chopped almonds with four garlic cloves and either pound together using a mortar and pestle or run through a food processor. I did a little of both here, and made sure not to make the mixture too fine. If you prefer things smoother, even completely smooth, that's okay too; just run it through the food processor longer.

In a mixing bowl place the almond/garlic mix, 1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh mint (Locatelli's recipe calls for three times that amount of mint), around 1 pound of skinned and diced fresh tomatoes, and a good hit of salt and freshly ground pepper.

Incorporate all the ingredients and then stir in around 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Be sure to use a good quality oil. Since the pesto isn't cooked the flavor of the oil is important.

Mix the pesto with your pasta of choice (this is homemade fettuccine). And don't discard all of your (well-salted) pasta water, because you may need to add some of it to the pasta if it's a little too dry. After plating top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano and serve.

FOR MORE RECIPES: Click here for my Pasta Recipe Index; click here for the Vegetarian Recipe Index.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Leftovers: Tomato pesto sauce

I came across a quart of frozen tomato sauce in the freezer yesterday. (This shocks you, I know.) I had made the sauce (with sausage meat, said the masking tape label on its container) some time ago, and so it seemed a good idea to defrost the stuff and have at it.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Spaghetti and Red Sauce dinner. I ran into a bit of leftover pesto in the fridge and, well...

Next time I shall have to plan this meal in advance. 

I strongly urge you to do same.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fennel frond pesto

I killed a whole mess of plants the other day.

On purpose.

No, I do not feel good about it.

"Crop thinning," it's called. Vegetable gardeners do it all the time, the good ones do anyway. They yank from the ground perfectly healthy seedlings so that other seedlings, a proper number for the space alloted, may prosper and grow.

I must not be a very good vegetable gardener. For rarely, if ever, do I summon the courage to launch such a killing spree.

I simply don't have the heart.

And so, it is with trepidation (and an ample amount of shame) that I present to you this particular item: A very lovely pesto made with the fronds of scores of baby fennel seedlings that I ripped from their Mother Earth one dark day last week.

It was a simple matter of substituting the fennel fronds for the basil; that's it. The recipe is the same pesto recipe that I have used for a couple decades now, courtesy of Marcella Hazan.

It was delicious, yes, tasting remarkably like a basil pesto, just a bit milder, softer even.

Sadly, I may find myself on another killing spree next year.

"Blender Pesto"


Adapted from Marcella Hazan's "The Classic Italian Cookbook"

2 cups fresh basil leaves (or, in this case, fennel fronds)

1/2 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. pine nuts (I used walnuts this time)

2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 Tbsp. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

3 Tbsp. butter, softened to room temperature

Put the basil (or fronds), olive oil, pine nuts (or walnuts), chopped garlic, and salt in the blender and mix at high speed.

When evenly blended pour into a bowl, and beat in the two grated cheeses by hand.

When the cheese has been evenly incorporated with the other ingredients, beat in the softened butter.

Before spooning the pesto over pasta, add a tablespoon or so of the hot pasta water.

When freezing pesto do so without adding the cheese and butter. Add the cheese and butter when it is thawed, just before serving.