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Hey Pesto - Round and round the web we go
Member Name: opinionated
Date: 04/03/01, updated on 05/03/01 (142 review reads)
Advantages: Heaven's food
Disadvantages: Pricey ingredients and you can't just dig them out of the cupboard
It's funny the round about ways the web in general and DooYoo in particular leads you. I started by noticing that Welshwolf had rated one of my items so I looked to see who he was. On looking at what he had written I saw in item on Basil which led me to thinking about pesto and how delicious it is and how I really should try making it. From there it was one short hop to a search engine and I now have a wealth of information about pesto and a recipe to try tonight.
If you are all interested in pesto I recommend you take a look at
It's a magazine article so it won't be around for too long but in the meantime I think it would be plagiarising to put the recipe in. I did learn some interesting things from it and the other sites I looked at.
Apparently the origins of pesto are that the Italians wanted to make something that was well flavoured and would last a long time for their sailors. Pesto covered with a film of oil fits the bill. If you are planing on keeping your pesto in the fridge for any length of time the film of oil applies to you too.
Depressingly I also learnt that making pesto with a mortar and pestle really does make it better. The person who contributed this gem of information also dedicates a paragraph or two to the quickest way to grind it yourself (handy tips like that you can use the end of a handleless rolling pin - useful if you just happen to have one lying about). If you're dedicated enough to try take a look at:
On a more practical level Mr Mortar and Pestle tells us you can salvage a lot of what is lost by not using a mortar by using a blender instead of a food processor. Sounds good in theory but I've just whipped up my first basil (tonight has now arrived and I'm editing this) and I personally am willing to sacrifice a little perfection for speed.
I don't know if our blender would have got there eventually but it wasn't in a hurry.
The good news is that pesto can be frozen (although I don't suppose Mr Mortar and Pestle would support this point of view).
The other good news is that you can modify the recipe using a variety of other herbs. I quite fancy the idea of making up a few variations and serving them with French bread as a alternative to chips and dips.
Costwise - all those good ingredients don't come for free. Here's what it cost me at Safeways:
1.79 for a basil plant (3/4 used)
1.00 for a block of parmesean cheese
0.29 for a French stick
0.75 worth of olive oil
3.83 total - for a couple of cups.
I cheated on the pine nuts and used old manky ones which is a real no-no! Ditto garlic. I would have loved to throw in some sun-dried tomatos but Safeway didn't have them.
Still, tastes great. Supermarket basil isn't as strongly flavoured as basil grown more slowly so you can afford to use a LOT more basil than in the recipe.
Once I've mastered the basics I'm going to have a go at zuccini and pesto lasagne as per http://www.initaly.com/regions/liguria/sims.htmI
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