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-   -   Thanks but No Thanks to Pesto! (http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f20/thanks-but-no-thanks-to-pesto-1658.html)

Dina 06-11-2004 10:51 AM

Thanks but No Thanks to Pesto!
I was so excited to make pesto cause it just looked so good on pasta, but just did not like it. I don't know if it was the raw ingredients or the pine nuts. And I love garlic, basil and olive oil, but then again, I always cook them through on a meal. Or maybe I just coated my penne pasta too much with the pesto. Who knows...I wish there was something similar but with a milder taste. I think I'll stick to my tomato/basil and alfredo sauces. :?


Alix 06-11-2004 12:34 PM

Did your recipe include parmesan cheese too? You should also (and I know you will love this!) add about 1/2 cup cream to the pesto when mixing it with pasta...YUM!

kitchenelf 06-11-2004 02:07 PM

If you like the things you mentioned then I'm not sure how you can NOT like pesto. Would you post your recipe so Alix and I can look at it? I make mine with basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, kosher salt and pesto always calls for some kind of acid - some use white vinegar, others use lemon, I prefer fresh limes.

When I use mine on pasta I usually heat up some extra olive oil (quite a bit) and add my pesto to it or use it very sparingly as it has such a large flavor.

Cream??? Oh great, now I can add more calories :wink: I feel sure you just used too much because a little truly goes a long way. You can also reserve some pasta water and mix with it to thin it out.

comissaryqueen 06-11-2004 03:22 PM

other pestos
Alot of people think the basil is too strong try making it with other herbs or vegetables. Try sun-dried tomato pesto or spinach pesto or with whatever you like. Just substitute another ingredient for the basil.I like to mix a few different ones like mushroom.

Alix 06-11-2004 04:55 PM

Kitchenelf, I would love to post my pesto here, and will, but I warn you I am a rather slapdash sort of cook. I just do whatever looks right to me so please feel free to amend my recipe as it is just as close as I can get.

Alix's Pesto

One handful (1 cup?) of fresh basil leaves. Pick out any stems or nasty looking leaves. Put this in your food processor.

Add about 2/3 cup pine nuts, and pulse your food processor until all is chopped fine.

Add as much garlic as you like...we like about 3 minced cloves. Start with about 1/2 cup olive oil and buzz until it is pasty. Add more oil as required. I also throw in a little salt, but not too much pepper as a good friend is allergic to it.

If you are freezing it. Stop here and put it in containers. For serving immediately...read on!

Add about 1/2 parmesan cheese and blend some more. The mixture should be a thick goopy consistency (hungry yet? LOL!). We like to take about a 1/3 cup of this mixture and mix with an equal amount of fresh farm cream. Heat gently and toss with your pasta. This is especially tasty with any lightly stir fried fresh veggies on hand. Zucchini, peppers, broccoli, beans, snow peas. It's all good.

Unfortunately, kitchenelf, I have tried to lower the fat content, and alas it is completely yucky with low fat alternatives. So...either omit the cream and do it with some pasta water, or....enjoy the extra calories!

kitchenelf 06-11-2004 06:09 PM

Hi Alix,

Maybe Dina can compare her recipe to yours. Yours sounds like a lot of pine nuts but I'm like you - I have never really measured it when I make it. I would guess that mine is very similar with the addition of lime juice (like I said most use lemon juice and some use white vinegar). The lime juice to me is very refreshing and I usually use lime instead of lemon, even in my cocktail sauce.

I don't think I add quite as many pine nuts as you do but who knows for sure!!!! LOL

And, up to this point the fat that is in here is all good - now I'm still trying to convince myself that cream is good for the body :oops: - Didn't Cleopatra bathe in it? Well, my insides are silky smooth instead of my outsides! LOL :roll:

Havea you ever tried a rosemary pesto? Similar but no parmesan and no pinenuts, then add some dijon mustard, soy sauce, salad oil, and use as a coating for a leg of lamb - OMG, it's heaven! I don't know if I've ever posted it - if not I'll post tomorrow.

ironchef 06-11-2004 10:44 PM

you need either parmesan, asiago, or pecorino romano cheese to tone down the harshness of the raw garlic and balance out the flavors. You may need to add more olive oil as well. When I trained under this Italian chef, the consistency of his pesto was like a loose pancake batter. It shouldn't be as thick as a lot of the pestos you see. You also don't necessarily need an acid, but you can add it if you think it evens out the flavor a bit. You might also want to do a 1/2 and 1/2 combination of basil and Italian flat leaf parsley, or you could use arugula.

Alix 06-11-2004 11:54 PM

You could be right kitchenelf, I usually just dump until it looks right! I never measure. Where are you going to post that other recipe? I want to try it out.

Ironchef...arugula? Really? I may have to try that. And you say loose pancake batter is the consistency I am going for? OK...so just more oil then? Thanks for the tips. I greatly appreciate any "tweaking" you can offer me.

ironchef 06-12-2004 01:41 PM

oops...in my reply i meant that you may need to add MORE cheese if neccessary. the olive oil you are using is extra virgin right? since the oil has a flavor of it's own, adding more will balance the pesto out. The oil will eventually seperate from the pesto, but that's how the chef taught me to make it.

chefwannabe 06-12-2004 02:33 PM

I love pesto. I especially like sun-dried tomato pesto. You can basically make this just by adding some sun-dried tomatoes to your favorite pesto recipe. It's very difficult to find basil around here lately, so I have had to resort to buying prepared pesto. Luckily, I found a great one at Costco's for only $6.79 for a tall jar. I take a little cooked chopped chicken, toss it with a little pesto and put it on my homemade pizzas and we love it. My friend and I are also thinking about adding a little pesto to alfredo sauce and serving it with Parmesan crusted chicken and fettucine.

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