Pesto originated in Italy and is made with basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil....blended with some parmesan cheese and its one of the most versatile sauces, or in our Indian lingo... "a chutney" that you can use with meats, pastas, sandwich spreads, even as a base for a delightfully different pizza!
Its real easy to make and can be stored for a little while.... so make a biggish batch, and try it out with various combinations.
And now for my twist:
Though the original Pesto should obviously be made with basil leaves and pine nuts...but one can experiment a little with the fresh greens and the nuts... you can use fresh parsely or cilantro (coriander in our part of the world) or even mint....
and the pine nuts can be interchanged with walnuts or almonds.
Though I have heard that the cheese doesnt really go well with other greens except basil... but a bit of processed cheese with my fresh coriander went a looooong way!
We dont get Basil here in my part of the world very easily.... in fact I count myself really lucky the day I find a fresh head of broccoli and mushrooms (exorbitantly priced of course) in the little general store that caters to our needs.... And I grab it before it disappears!
A big bunch of fresh coriander is available all year round, so I thought why not make my pesto coriander based? with pine nuts of course, so that I get a bit of the authentic taste.
CORIANDER PESTO with PINE NUTS
2 cups coriander leaves
2-3 garlic cloves
4 tbsp pine nuts (chilgoza)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup hard cheese (Parmigiano, Reggiano, Parmesan)
or if none of these are available... good old processed cheese!
sea salt and black pepper to taste
-It comes out best if you grind it in a mortar and pestle.... if not then just a quick whirr in the blender will do. The resultant sauce should be coarse, not finely ground.
-Add the grated cheese in the end, just before serving
1- If using the the mortar and pestle, crush garlic with the sea salt+pepper to make a fine paste. Then add the basil leaves and pound the leaves to pulp. Add the pine nuts and grind to smooth consistancy... with a couple of tbsp of water.
In the end add the the oil and mix well.
The Cheese is added in the end.
2- If using a blender, combine the coriander leaves, half the oil, nuts, garlic and salt+pepper in a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds, scrape the sides and repeat.
Add the rest of the oil gradually.... if it seems too thick, you can add a bit more oil.
The cheese is added in the end and mixed by hand, right before serving.
NOTE: Pesto freezes well. If freezing, then dont add the cheese, and pour a layer of oil on top, once its in the container.
Here (in the pictures) I have used the Pesto sauce as a base for the Tagliatelle Pasta.... makes for an amazing alternative to the regular tomato based pasta sauce.
This is the proper meal that I served with the Pesto Pasta :-)
The recipes will follow soon!
I also used this pesto sauce as a base for this yummy Pizza.
This pesto sauce is also as a base for the Chicken Cordon Bleu... the recipe is here:
So what are you waiting for?? Just whirr up some Pesto already...and experiment your heart away!!
And do let me know what all you tried.