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Old 06-16-2005, 07:34 AM   #1
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Why does pesto include nuts?

I love pesto and have collected a bunch of recipes for different kinds.

My question is: why does pesto always include nuts of some kind? Just another flavor twist? Something to do with emulsification?

Inquiring minds plus the idly curious want to know!

TIA

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Old 06-16-2005, 08:00 AM   #2
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I would think it is for the flavor and maybe also the texture.
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Old 06-16-2005, 08:44 AM   #3
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Same reason why it contains basil. It's part of the recipe. As GB said, it provides texture and flavor.

If you're allergic to nuts, you can try to make pesto without the nuts. You'll still get tons of flavor from the basil, garlic, cheese and oil.

If you're allergic to just pine nuts, you can sub another nut such as walnuts or pistachios.
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:29 AM   #4
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I don't use nuts in mine...I guess it's not really pesto without them, but it's very tasty.
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:37 AM   #5
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It's for the texture. Nuts provide a thickness and smoothness to the sauce without which it would be limp. In Indian cuisine we make cilantro and mint chutneys and the authentic chutneys always add a handful of peanuts to give it a smooth consistency.
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Old 06-22-2005, 11:40 AM   #6
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Quick question: When making pesto... you use only the leaves of the basil, correct?
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Old 06-22-2005, 11:49 AM   #7
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Yes that is correct. You could use the stems too, but the leaves are what you really want.
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Old 06-22-2005, 04:36 PM   #8
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Because they are delicious!

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Old 06-23-2005, 03:54 PM   #9
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What's the base ingredient for it to be considered pesto? I had always thought pesto meant ONLY basil, pine nuts, and olive oil.
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Old 06-23-2005, 06:33 PM   #10
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A bit off, but not quite -

If you have extra pesto, and extra sun dried tomato pesto, layer them in an 8" cheesecake pan (lined with saran wrap), this way: cream cheese, basil pesto, cream cheese, sun-dried, cream cheese, basil pesto, cream cheese, sun-dried, cream cheese.
Chill in the frige a couple of hours till set, then unmold and serve with good crackers. It's a gorgeous presentation, and it tastes great too. I believe it's called an Italian Flag Torte. (but I call it using up leftovers!)
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Old 06-23-2005, 09:19 PM   #11
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I made a pesto last night and in addition to the basic basil, evoo, pine nuts, salt/pepper I added a few cloves of garlic... because I'm a garlic fiend, lol. I think it came out well though. I froze it until I have something to use it with.
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Old 06-23-2005, 09:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by college_cook
I made a pesto last night and in addition to the basic basil, evoo, pine nuts, salt/pepper I added a few cloves of garlic... because I'm a garlic fiend, lol. I think it came out well though. I froze it until I have something to use it with.
Did you add parmesan cheese? Garlic and parm are both standard ingredients for basil pesto.
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Old 06-24-2005, 02:36 AM   #13
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yep.. plenty of parm added
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Old 06-24-2005, 03:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subfuscpersona
My question is: why does pesto always include nuts of some kind?
Why does chicken stock always include chicken? Why does tomato sauce always include tomatoes? It's the recipe! Without it - it wouldn't be what it is.

I think it's really more of a flavor than a texture thing. You can pound walnuts and pine nuts in a mortar and wind up with an oily mass ... but the flavor will be totally different. I have no love for pine nuts on their own ... but they make a distinct difference (that I like) in the flavor of pesto made with and without them.
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:01 AM   #15
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Michael:

Try a batch of pesto with pistachios. I got the idea from AB and it's pretty good.
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:04 AM   #16
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and don't eat crackers before you try to say that!!!!!


the reason for nuts in pesto: the same reason we have some on this site. without them, it would be bland....
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Old 07-07-2005, 01:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug
What's the base ingredient for it to be considered pesto? I had always thought pesto meant ONLY basil, pine nuts, and olive oil.
The word "pesto" itself comes from more of a technique than an actual recipe, but the pesto that most people are familiar with uses basil as the base herb. There's a ton of basic recipes, but from what I've seen, it's something akin to this :

1 c. loosely packed Basil
2-3 cloves Fresh Garlic
1/4-1/2 c. Pinenuts
1/4-1/2 c. Fresh Parmesan Cheese
1/2-3/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Some basic recipes call for Italian Parsley and/or Mint to be included as well. I like the addition of the parsley in my own pestos.
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Old 07-10-2005, 02:50 AM   #18
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pesto question

It varies from what I've learned.
I did come across something I thought was pesto, but actually I turned out liking it a lot more.

I actually have leaned more towards garlic sauces lately, but I definitely like the pine nut texture in many things, including a fine rice.

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Old 07-10-2005, 03:31 AM   #19
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if you left the nuts out wouldn't it be like a pistou instead......which is french not italian but thats beside the point.
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:35 AM   #20
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peanuts alternate of pine nuts

Q: peanuts can be used making pesto, alternate of pine nuts or walnuts?
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