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Old 02-18-2008, 12:15 PM   #21
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I have used pistachios instead of pine nuts, with wonderful results. I do not like to substitute anything for basil, I just love the flavor. For cheese as far as I'm concerned it has to be a hard cheese with a lot of flavor. Parm or pecorino. The softer cheeses ... well, just cannot imagine it being the same. There is nothing wrong with the finished product, just call it something else. When you use cottage, ricotta, or mozzerella, you will wind up with something wonderful, but more appropriate to fill large shells, etc, with rather than something to put a dollop on a bowl of pasta (pesto as we know it ... well, a tablespoon will easily dress a bowl of pasta for two).
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:23 PM   #22
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Thanks to all for the wonderful morsels of history and trivia. A very enjoyable read!
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:32 PM   #23
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I have made pesto without cheese. It has a different consistency, but still tastes wonderful. I have also substituted walnuts for the pine nuts - again has a good flavor. Here is an example of a no-cheese recipe:

3 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh parsley sprigs
4 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Pepper to taste
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:34 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Claire View Post
I have used pistachios instead of pine nuts, with wonderful results. I do not like to substitute anything for basil, I just love the flavor. For cheese as far as I'm concerned it has to be a hard cheese with a lot of flavor. Parm or pecorino. The softer cheeses ... well, just cannot imagine it being the same. There is nothing wrong with the finished product, just call it something else. When you use cottage, ricotta, or mozzerella, you will wind up with something wonderful, but more appropriate to fill large shells, etc, with rather than something to put a dollop on a bowl of pasta (pesto as we know it ... well, a tablespoon will easily dress a bowl of pasta for two).
I too have used pistachios and walnuts in pesto instead of pine nuts. Whichever I use, I make sure to toast them first in a dry skillet. Brings out the flavor intensity and gives a depth to the pesto. And always, but always use Parmegiano Reggianno -never the Kraft sawdust. I can't imagine why anyone would opt for the green box when the real thing is so much better. You aren't getting a full measure of cheese in the green box. Whatever the weight that is stated on the box, is only 2/3 cheese. The rest is filler, non food products like, yes, sawdust. That's what cellulose is. Read it for your selves. AAACCCCKKKK!!!
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:39 PM   #25
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I read an article on almonds last week, which included many recipes, and one recipe was for a pesto like product. I also noticed my local krogers has almonds on sale, so I got a few bags and will try that in pesto this summer. I had not seen any recipe for pesto give almonds as a potential nut to use.
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:51 PM   #26
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Basil pesto with pistachios is very good.
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:47 AM   #27
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Rocket pesto (just replace the basil with rocket) is also another good variation.
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Old 02-21-2008, 11:09 AM   #28
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Rocket pesto (just replace the basil with rocket) is also another good variation.
I did that once and found the rocket (arugula) to be too pungent for me. I love arugula in salads but the pesto was overwhelming. I'd recommend others give it a try. They might like it.
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Old 02-21-2008, 11:09 AM   #29
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Rocket pesto is deelish! add some toasted hazelnuts for some sweet against the bitter.

And in France, they call it Pistou and leave out the nuts, altogether.
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