Monday, June 14, 2010

Pesto 101

I was going to show you the first floor of the house in Beaune tonight, but I got busy late today making pesto.

I learned a lot about Italian cooking from a good friend who worked with me in New York and Stockholm; he was from Rome but his family moved to Bologna later; we became good friends and we both liked to cook; he showed me how to make tomato sauce from fresh or canned (whole, peeled) tomatoes, how to salt a salad, and how to prepare an entire meal with a mortal & pestle, paring knife, and a fork. It's all about the ingredients for the Italians, and of course they must be fresh or premium.

I am a very low-tech cook and I could do everything by hand except the chopping and grinding of my cuisinart mini-prep, which makes pesto super easy. When it's done, it is jarred for my friends and family:
Here is my mis-en scene below; fresh basil from Sage Hill Farms, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, pine nuts from Trader Joe's, homegrown lemon and a pile of fresh arugula from Maggie's Farms; take a generous amount of each and throw in the prep!! Proportions are a matter of taste but I will give you a starter if you like: about 5 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 20 basil leaves; juice of half a lemon, many fistfuls of arugula; keep adding more and more arugula in and processing after each addition; using the arugula instead of just basil makes it a little more mild and of course very very green. Add the cheese in at the very end.
Buy the basil like this with the roots if you can find it, because it keeps longer and you can use more it it; wow those guys and gals at Sage Hill are so smart!
I keep the greens in a tall glass on the kitchen counter. The greens still look great today, vs a wilted picked bunch....go to Sage Hill!!!
As I took the pics outside, Monsieur Lapin was nearby....he's a happy bunny....
Here is the pesto late this afternoon in the mini-prep; it looks better in the jars; I add a little more lemon juice on top to seal it; adding a little lemon juice to the pesto itself also keeps it from browning (oxidizing?). Why is it that most of the pesto for sale in the stores is so brown and yucky looking? Try home made next time!

1 comment:

  1. Looks so yummy, I might actually try it. I love argula and love how you share such good ideas. XO