Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kitchen Adventures; Pesto Genovese

Last year, on an Italian vacation with my family, hubs and I took a day trip up to Genoa. Part of the reason we went up there was because a few days earlier we'd read in a guide book that Genoa was the birthplace of, not only Genoa Salami, but pesto.

It was settled as soon as we'd read it. Our itinerary "free day" would be spent taking the two hour train ride West, from Milan to Genoa, where we would adventure and eat pesto.

The very first thing we noticed about the Genoan pesto was the color. It wasn't the bright green we were so used to seeing in the States. It relied so much more on the olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts for flavor. The basil was a delightful and colorful bonus.

This week I took a picture of the basil plants I have growing on my patio with the caption, "Today I will need to make something with #basil" (and other hashtags... like ya do)

... and immediately - without provocation - friends started giving me suggestions. Pesto. I should make pesto.

But then I was all, "umm... guys... I don't eat bread or pasta right now... what the heck am I supposed to put pesto on?!?" and when the suggestions kept flying in, I decided to go for it!

There are really so many more options for pesto than slathering it all over bread or pasta.
For example; chicken and pork chops make excellent platforms for pesto devouring.

While this recipe did come out delicious, it was not quite the same as the pesto we had in Italy. So, it'll be some trial and error until I figure it out. Maybe up the garlic and olive oil next time.

Recipe halved and slightly adapted from Saveur, later I learned that Love & Olive Oil used the same one.

2 cups packed basil, blanched briefly in boiling water and shocked in ice water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
¼ cup finely grated parmesan
1 ½ tbsp. finely grated pecorino
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Coarse sea salt, to taste

In a food processor, process basil, oil, parmesan, pine nuts, pecorino, and garlic in a food processor until smooth; season with salt.

I opted not to blanch my basil because I used the baby leaves from my plant outside. They want you to blanch them so the leaves are tender.

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