PESTO! How to make your own

Pesto is the quiche of the 80s.

— Nora Efron (screenplay for "When Harry Met Sally")

Originally a humble little rustic sauce of basil and olive oil pounded with mortar and pestle, pesto has now circled the globe. Two decades ago if you wanted pesto you needed to locate an Italian delicatessen. Now it appears on pizzas, is featured on fast-food sandwiches, and finds its way onto the condiment shelf of countless American homes, right next to the ketchup and mustard.

According to Andrew Wheeler of Serious Eats:

The first recorded recipe for Genovese pesto comes from a late 19th century cookery book, La Cuciniera Genovese, by Giovanni Battista Ratto. The recipe was not one that would satisfy purists today—Ratto suggested using a little butter in addition to olive oil; marjoram or parsley if one couldn't get basil; and Dutch cheese mixed in with the Parmesan—yet all the essential elements of modern Genovese pesto were present.

Here is a traditional recipe that purists will love.

Homemade pesto recipe

Cast your vote for Homemade Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basil leaves, gently packed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

Instructions:

Place basil, walnuts, and garlic in bowl of food processor. Pulse into finely chopped. Add oil, cheese, and salt and process until a smooth paste, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl.

How to use homemade basil pesto

Caprese Crostini-Style

  • Twelve 1/2-inch thick baguette slices
  • olive oil
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cut into 12 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 3 large tomatoes, each cut into 8 thick slices
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush baguette slices with olive oil; place on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, turning over after 6 minutes. Bread should be golden but not dark. Watch carefully!

Place a slice of mozzarella on top of each toasted bread slice. Top each with 2 teaspoons of the pesto, and then the quartered grape tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

And Here are Some Other Pesto Flavors to Try

cilantro
cilantro | Source
 
Ingredients
Pepita and Cilantro Pesto
2 cups packed cilantro
 
1/3 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
 
1 clove garlic
 
2/3 cup oil
 
1/3 cup mizithra cheese, grated
 
2 tablespoons lime juice

Instructions:

  1. Place cilantro, pepitas, and garlic clove in bowl of food processor. Pulse into finely chopped. Add oil, cheese, and lime juice and process until a smooth paste, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl.

How to Use Cilantro Pesto:

  • Dip for tortilla chips
  • Baste chicken in the last few minutes of grilling
  • Garnish chicken tacos
  • Stir into cooked rice

anchovies
anchovies | Source
 
 
 
Parsley Pesto with Anchovies
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, packed
 
 
1/2 cup capers, rinsed and drained
 
 
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
 
 
2 garlic cloves, crushed
 
 
2 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
 
 
1 cup olive oil
 
 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
 

Instructions:

  1. Place parsley, capers, oregano, and garlic in bowl of food processor. Pulse into finely chopped. Add oil and lemon juice and process until a smooth paste, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl.

How to Use Parsley Pesto with Anchovies:

  • Baste fish on the grill
  • Drizzle on grilled steak

Fresh arugula (rocket)
Fresh arugula (rocket) | Source
 
 
 
Arugula (Rocket) Pesto
2 cups packed arugula
 
 
1/3 cup pine nuts
 
 
2 teaspoons lemon zest
 
 
1 clove garlic, crushed
 
 
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 
 
1 cup olive oil
 

Instructions:

  1. Place arugula, pine nuts, zest, and garlic in bowl of food processor. Pulse into finely chopped. Add cheese and olive oil and process until a smooth paste, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl.

How to Use Arugula Pesto:

  • Drizzle over thick slices of fresh tomato and mozzarella
  • Add to sour cream for a vegetable dip
  • Use in place of red sauce on homemade pizza

Lavender
Lavender | Source
 
 
 
Provencal Pesto
2 cups baby greens
 
 
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
 
 
1 tablespoon fresh culinary lavender buds
 
 
1/2 cup slivered almonds
 
 
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
 
 
1/3 cup olive oil
 
from Better Homes and Gardens, April 2016

Instructions:

  1. Place baby greens, thyme, lavender and almonds in bowl of food processor. Pulse into finely chopped. Add cheese and olive oil and process until a smooth paste, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl.

How to Use Provencal Pesto:

  • Toss with steamed fingerling potatoes or green beans
  • Drizzle over delicate poached fillets of sole
  • Thin with a bit more olive oil or neutral salad oil and use as a salad dressing

© 2011 Carb Diva

More by this Author


Comments 1 comment

Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

Nice recipe! I love fresh pasta mixed with a good quality pesto. It's makes for a quick and easy supper.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working