Pesto is originally a Latin word which means crushed, pounded. Pesto sauce from Italy is traditionally pounded in a mortar. The recipe has many local variations.
Classical Pesto alla Genovese
The pesto as we know is the pesto alla genovese. Genova style pesto. This classical version has pine nuts, garlic, basil, salt, olive oil and parmesan cheese. You can use Parmigiano Reggiano, Grano Padano, or even Pecorino Romano with a Roman twist. There is another version of the sauce from South France called pistou but traditionally it is prepared without nuts, and the use of cheese is optional. In fact, in the origin they were not even using basil! While talking about pistou I should also tell you that French make this linked vegetable soup using this sauce. In France you can find many recipes of pistou that use nuts but the French cooks are not really happy when you don’t know the difference between pistou and pesto.
You can substitute almost all the ingredients with others. Instead of basil you can use mints, cilantro, spinach, aragula, ramsons (wild garlic) or you can even use mixed herbs. You can substitute pine nuts with almonds or other oily nuts. You can use any hard cheese and flavour with lemon juice, lime juice or pepper. You can even use fermented products such as miso and make vegan versions. Pesto rosso is the Sicilian version with almonst and tomatoes. Pesto alla calabrese is prepared with grilled peppers and it is spicy.
All these classics are good but today I will share with you modern pesto recipes.
Blanch basil (a bit more than others), chives, cilantro (I don’t like it much so I used dried cilantro), scallions, baby spinach (a bit less than others) in boiling water for one minute and put in ice water bath. Dry by squeezing the excess water, if necessary in a cheesecloth. Boil 2-3 cloves of garlic for 2 minutes. Add parmesan and roasted pistachio and blend well in a food processor. Add lime, salt, olive oil and a bit of nut oil (pistacchio if possible). Keep in the fridge for an hour.
This is the one Mickey is waiting for in the picture!
Alternative Modern Pesto Recipes
Spinach, parsley, Gouda, toasted almonds, almond oil, olive oil.
Cilantro,spinack, parmesan, toasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil, lime juice.
Grilled bell peppers, mint, Gorgonzola, toasted cashew nuts, olive oil.
Scallions, sorrel (unblanched), Piave Vecchio or parmesan, Macademia nuts, olive oil.
Scallions, chervil, thyme (unblanched), aged goat cheese, hazelnuts, hazelnut oil, olive oil.
Parsley,mint, chives, basil, chervil, Dijon mustard, walnuts, white wine winegar, olive oil.