Monday, July 28, 2008

Garlic, Garlic, and a Bit of Basil

Photos by David Escalante

I'm so proud to announce that I, ardent basil and pesto lover, finally made my own pesto--by hand--no food processor, nothing jarred, canned, or preserved. Just me, my basil, pine nuts, garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese on a cutting board with a sharp knife. It was actually really fun, not to mention a great work out!

The other day at our weekly farmer's market, I simply could not pass through the produce aisle without snagging up a big bunch of basil for $1. The heady aroma of basil was calling me all the way from the other end of the market. So, I told myself that if I was going to buy that much basil, then I better have a good idea of what I was going to do with it, because, let's face it--basil does not last long in the refrigerator and I hate throwing out produce that has gone bad before being used. Pesto seemed to be the obvious answer to my quest and I had been pondering trying my hand at it for a while now.

I searched the internet for a recipe and it really bothers me when I can't follow the recipe and all the recipes I saw called for dumping everything into a food processor. I don't own a food processor and the idea of giving my blender a go at it just wasn't working for me. Luckily, I found this How to Make Pesto Like an Italian Grandmother Recipe which called for chopping everything by hand (I'm a rule follower, so I was very happy to find a recipe that I could follow the rules by). It was amazing! David said that I actually did look like an Italian grandmother when I was making it and he kept making cracks about that when we devoured our pesto covered pasta tonight.

All in all, a super fun experience and its true what the author of 101 Cookbooks claimed, hand chopped was much much better. You definitely get to enjoy the different textures, ingredients, and flavors more than you would with the usual blended-to-kingdom-come version.

Oh! Side note: "Garlic, Garlic, and a Bit of Basil," refers to our dinner which consisted of very garlicky garlic bread along with our garlicky pesto pasta among other things...


The Montgomerys said...

Props to you for introducing your kids to a wide variety of foods...that is really cool. You seem to take so much joy in your family meals...that is so awesome!! Your pesto look beautiful and you are quite the CHEF!!! (The pictures look amazing...were they taken with Dave's camera?)

You rock.



elisabeth said...

so i thought this looked like a really simple, easy recipe (minus the chopping part) and decided to print it out at work. unfortunately i forgot it in the copier and the next morning i heard my co-worker ask very loudly on the other side of the office "who wants to make pesto like an italian grandmother?"

Corynne Escalante said...

monica: i wish i could say that elliott eats a wide variety of foods, but truthfully, he really doesn't. he actually had marinara on his pasta...

Liz: oh my gosh! that story is sooo funny. i have been chuckling about it all morning. thanks!