Ok, so the ladies at work have been talking about this really good, new, fast food italian restaurant in town so on a whim, I asked them the name. It's a Noodles & Company!! So I thought, "Self, let's do some investigating ..."
I ordered the dish and asked the staff "You are calling this pesto so I assume there is ONLY basil in this dish".
They replied, "Yes, only basil, EVOO, garlic, parm., etc..."
I then pressed them with "There is NO other spice ... oregano, parsley, kale (I got that from you Mish) - right? Because those all upset my stomach
They replied "No, NOTHING else" and then they gave me a small sample of only their pesto, before it was tossed with the pasta and cream.
All I tasted (and saw - there was texture, it was not creamy) was basil ... was it a little tamer than homemade - yes but it would have to be. I am guessing it is premade and shipped to their various sites to ensure consistancy in their menu options. The time it is sitting is going to allow it to mellow some. Also, they might have their own breed of basil, I know mine is different than my mom's 5 blocks away simply because of the soil and what I feed it. Also, how old the basil is before you even start the process will affect the taste (sweeter, a bit skunky, mellow, etc...). But I digress ...
As was mentioned before, you can watch them prepare your dish so ...
They quick sauted mushrooms (I'm guessing these were predone, the saute was to reheat) and fresh, diced tomato.
They then added a scoop of the cream / wine mixture and they were using 1/4 cup ladles (no, I didn't ask, I just know the size from experience).
They then moved the pan over about 2 feet, I'm guessing to remove from heat (you can't see the burners) and added a ladle (1/4 cup again) of pesto.
Flip, Flip, Flip, Scrape, Flip, Flip, Flip, Scrape, dump into bowl, hand to next person to add cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.
Basil. That's all there is.
The dish was actually quite good. I took it back to my office and picked around on it for a while to investigate it further. I also had my office mate taste it as well and she agreed, only basil.
Anyone else have a food mission or quandry to solve? This was almost as fun as the guy who listed the ingredients for their challenge and we all gave ideas and recipes ...