Every year growing up, I got to choose what I wanted for my birthday dinner. And every year? Pesto pasta.

Since birthday is in March, large quantities of basil were often less readily available.

But my mother, being the savvy cook she is, had the perfect solution: make big batches of pesto all summer, and stick them in little Rubbermaid containers to be stored in the freezer. Come December, January, and even March, she could pop out one of these containers and defrost it. Fresh market pesto with snow on the ground (well, I grew up in Durham, so snowy ground is more wishful thinking).

I decided to do the same thing this year, looking towards the long northern winter where I will not see the sun for days at a time. (Why? Because class is from 8-5. The sun will rise and set and I will be in the hospital and in class the whole time!)

This pesto is not the pesto with cream you get in many restaurants in the US (I hate pesto with cream in it); it is true Genovese pesto, albeit made with less olive oil.

Genovese pesto at a market in Florence

The recipe is an adaptation of Marcella Hazan's recipe. (If you don't know of her, you should! She's often called "the Italian Julia Child"). My mother often says that Marcella taught her to cook. The old cookbook opens up right to the pesto page, and my mother's adaptation is penciled in next to the original recipe.

Blender Pesto
  • 2 c fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbs chopped pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/3 c grated parmesan
  • salt
Place the olive oil, nuts, garlic and salt in the food processor and pulse for 10-15 seconds. Add the basil and process until combined. Add the cheese, then pulse until it is mixed in.

Pesto Pasta (orzo)

Summer Pesto Pasta with Zucchini

Pesto Risotto

Pesto on Fresh Mozzarella

No comments:

Post a Comment