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Original Pesto recipe?
Today's pesto recipe is a traditional pesto sauce from the Cinque Terre region.
Basil pesto recipes can be used to make a variety of dishes — from chicken pesto and sun dried tomato pesto to pesto salad and pesto pizza.
To make pesto, you'll need some pine nuts. And yes — pine nuts are actually harvested from pine cones! In Italy, the stone pine is preferred for its large seeds. Here in the U.S., pinyon pine nuts were a favorite food of Native Americans.Pine nuts are harvested under each scale of the pine cone. This takes a lot of time, so you'll probably want to get some from your local market. Actually to harvest the pine nuts, I drove to the grocery store and bought a pack. You can see why they are so expensive.
Before beginning the pesto, toast 1/2 cup pine nuts on a hot pan over high heat. Don't walk away from this, as they cook quickly. Shake pan continuously until they turn golden brown. Remove from heat.
To prepare the pesto, you'll need a blender(?) or a Mortar and Pestle(?) along with these ingredients:
2 cups rinsed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
1/2 to 1 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper and more sea salt (to taste)
In a food processor, pulse basil, garlic and toasted pine nuts for about a minute, scraping down with a rubber spatula. Next, add the grated parmesan cheese and sea salt. Slowly blend in the olive oil, a little at a time.
Season with fresh cracked pepper and additional salt if desired.
To prepare a basic pesto pasta, mix 2 cups cooked whole wheat italian pasta with about 1/2 cup fresh pesto. You can use any type of pasta you like and add fresh diced rotisserie chicken if desired.
Sprinkle with additional grated parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves if desired.