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Old 01-27-2005, 10:44 AM   #1
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Winter Pesto

For those of you not lucky enough to live in SoCal or Hawaii, or have a heated
greenhouse, or a sunny windowsill where you can grow basil at this time of year, here
is a recipe for a parsley pasta sauce very simillar to pesto.

Parsley is a very robust herb, and I have frequently harvested it from underneath 6
inches of snow to make this dish. Of course, you must have fresh parsley growing in
the garden or be able to get it. I use the variey “Italian Giant”, a flat leaved large
growing variety.

I give below the original recipe from Liguria by Ada Boni. You may wish to adjust
the proportions once you start making it:

Salsa di Noci

8 oz walnuts, 2 oz pine nuts, 1 to1/2 clove of garlic 2 tablespoons of choped fresh
parsley ( do not even THINK of using dried), or marjoram or a mixture, 4 oz ricotta
(or cream cheese for a richer dish), 6 tablespoons of olive oil.

Either use a mortar or a kitchen grinder to reduce to a smooth paste the nuts, garlic,
and parsley. Add the cheese.

Add a tablespoon of water and gradually beat in the oil and some salt. Or use the
grinder again, until you have a creamy paste like pesto.

You can enhance it with grated parmesan.

Once you have a feel for the flavour combinations, you can increase or decrease the
ingredients to your satisfaction.

Made thicker it can be used as a stuffing for small hollow pasta, like conchiglie.

Traditionally, served with pansotti, but good with any pasta.

Bon Appetito!

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Old 01-27-2005, 09:39 PM   #2
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Glad you posted this. I routinely use other herbs in my pesto to add different flavors to dishes. I think that pesto is a wonderful condiment to nearly anything - pasta, veggies, fish, chicken, pork, etc.

I like to use mint, parsley, tarragon, cilantro depending on what I am serving it with. I also use many kinds of nuts like walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. You can really play with pesto to suit your own tastes and dishes.
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Old 01-27-2005, 09:58 PM   #3
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I really should make up a huge batch of pesto, its summer here so right now it is attack of the killer basil, its spreading like wildfire.

The oil makes it last so long so theres no real fear of it going plus, plus there are so many uses for it that doesn't involve pasta. Great on sandwiches, pizza etc etc.
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Old 01-28-2005, 11:40 AM   #4
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Well, technically, "PESTO" should be only be made with basil.

This walnut/parsley sauce is known as Salsa di Nocci.

That does not mean you cannot make similar concoctions with other ingredients. But it is confusing to refer to a green sauce made with fresh corriander (and possibly chillies and onion) as pesto. I would not be pleased if I ordered pesto and received something like that.

Haggis, you can also freeze pesto. It keeps quite well. Make it in concentrated form and freeze in an ice cube tray. When frozen, wrap each piece in cling film like a toffee to stop the colour from oxidising.
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Old 01-29-2005, 07:18 AM   #5
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Do you toast the nuts first? I almost always use some parsley with the basil when I make the Basil Pesto. As far as getting a different kind of "pesto" in a restaurant, I think they would tell you what the main ingredient in it is, if it's different from the basic one we all know.
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Old 01-29-2005, 01:38 PM   #6
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I used to toast the nuts. This was basically because they did not smell fresh after I had used the package once. I NOW understand that in fact they go rancid quite quickly (why I instinctively toasted them), and I now keep them in the freezer.

Before I could get pinoli easily I used to use fresh blanched almonds. In fact, although not traditional, I actually think it gives a better flavour and texture. I think I might revert to it despite the inevitable condescenscion of my Italian friends.

I would personally not use ANYTHING except basil in PESTO. Using parsley is to my mind a make weight for the real thing. But what is important is that you enjoy it. NOT EVERYBODY likes the full, pungent flavour of real Ligurian pesto. Just do not add flavours that are really foreign (like green corriander) to it. Use European herbs. If you do not , it will become a "fusion dish", and the problem with that is that eventually EVERYTHING will taste the same.

Something that MacDonalds has already tried.
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Old 01-31-2005, 08:52 AM   #7
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I also dislike it when people put a bit of cream into the pesto, never does anything for me.
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:01 PM   #8
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I understand.

BUT check out my post here:

http://www.discusscooking.com/viewtopic.php?t=3062
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Old 02-01-2005, 11:06 AM   #9
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I never knew you could add ricotta to pesto! Thanks for the tip.

I made some basil-walnut pesto just the other day and I had questions so this thread is timely for me.

My first :?: is making it in a blender (I don't have a food processor). It's my Mom's blender; it has a powerful motor but the base is very narrow (about 2" ??) The problem is herbs and nuts glomm up at the bottom and the rest don't get touched (even when I try to do it in batches). (I think it needs some liquid in the bottom to work) Any tips on makiing it in a old-fashioned blender or is this an exercise in futility?

Second :?: is about walnuts - if I buy them in the shell, does the shell keep them fresh?
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Old 02-01-2005, 11:55 PM   #10
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"if I buy them in the shell, does the shell keep them fresh?"

Yes, definitely. Walnuts will stay fresh for 6 to 9 months in the shell. Shelled walnuts that you buy in a pack are STALE WHEN you buy them.

Other nuts will stay fresh for at least 6 months.

I do not use a food processor or blender. I use the grinder attachemnt, the circular small bladed one that is "supposed" to be used for grinding coffee beans. It is very good for grinding spices and making pesto. Useless for coffee though.

I only use a bur wheel grinder for coffee. TASTE the difference!!

Pesto type sauces are traditionally made with a pestle and mortar. There is too much space in a blender or food processor for it to work.
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