Pesto

Pesto, of course, can be bought, but pesto made at home still hits even the best purchase with one hand.

After all, the most important thing in this sauce is freshness. And stick to the classics no one obliges you.

Just by understanding the principle, you can at any time cook your own pesto, which you cannot buy anywhere.

Most people come across only one species. pesto — Genoa.

This is the sauce of green basil with pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and cheese — parmesan and / or seasoned sheep cheese (in the original — sardo fiore, and we have the most suitable analogue — pecorino).

In Liguria, Genoese pesto is primarily seasoned with pasta. Long or short.

It is boiled together with diced potatoes and green beans, and then thrown back and add pesto. Potatoes, when mixed, are dispersed in mashed potatoes and form a single intense green sauce.

You can often find pesto as a seasoning for vegetable soup (minestrone) or as a supplement to meats.

The Genoese variant is indeed very old, but the word Pesto means only «pounded in a mortar.» Therefore, in the nearby Provence a “pisto” sauce appeared, which is also prepared, but without nuts, and sometimes without cheese.

Parsley is often added to the basil.

They are seasoned with vegetable soup (which is called “pisto soup”), boiled and baked potatoes, beans, zucchini or just smeared it on bread.

On the way to the south of Italy, even more interesting finds are found. In Tuscany, arugula was added to the basilica. They also decided to add a little cold water so that the sauce for the paste would be easier and more enveloping.

In Tuscany, there is another, completely different version of pesto — with the addition of fresh thyme, sage and rosemary.

But in Sicily and in Calabria culinary thought really turned sharply. There they began to cook pesto with tomatoes or sweet peppers.

Sometimes with pine nuts, and sometimes with almonds. Or even without nuts, but with young ricotta in addition to seasoned Parmesan — in this case, the consistency of the sauce turns out just wonderful. On South Italian pesto Often served to snack fried in batter, especially vegetables and zucchini flowers, stuffed with mozzarella.

But also pasta, Of course, they charge me too.

Ingredients can be manipulated quite freely, understanding the general principle.

Basic greens / vegetable with character, it is necessary to give the main flavor to the sauce. For example, green basil, red basil, cilantro, parsley, arugula, celery, mint, thyme, sage.

You can mix several different herbs if you like the combination.

Or add spinach to slightly dilute the main greens.

Alternatively, you can take tomatoes or sweet peppers.

Nuts and cheese responsible for the consistency and thickness of the sauce.

If you do not put either one or the other, you will get simply easily stratified puree of ground greens. In addition, they certainly add an extra flavor.

Seasoned parmesan or pecorino are the most aggressive.

If you want a soft sauce that does not clog up the delicate taste of the dish, you can add very little or leave it aside.

Ricotta is almost neutral.

From pine nuts (or pine, which is much more reasonable in our latitudes) comes sweetness. From walnuts — a little bitterness.

This may be almonds, and hazelnuts, and cashews, and you will surely find more options.

Olive oil and water make the sauce flowable. The less oil, the thicker it will be.

Thick is good to smear on bread, served with soup and as an addition to vegetable and meat snacks.

If you fill the paste, it makes sense to make it more liquid.

You can simply add more oil or replace part of the oil with ice water — the sauce turns out to be very beautiful, light and enveloping.

Oil, by the way, does not have to be olive.

Use the one you like.

Various nuts and even unrefined sunflower can, in good combination with the main ingredient, give an excellent result.

Seasonings allow you to balance the resulting sauce to taste.

Garlic, salt, black, white or chili pepper, sugar — just try and add them to your taste.

Genoese Basil: one bunch (60 g) of green basil, 30 g of pine nuts, 20 g of parmesan cheese or grana padano, 40-60 ml of olive oil, one clove of garlic, salt and black pepper to taste.

Calabrian Pepper: one red sweet pepper (150 g), 50 g of ricotta, 30 g of parmesan or grana padano, 30 g of pecorino romano, 60-80 ml of olive oil, a sprig of green basil, salt and chili powder to taste.

Sicilian Tomato: 150 g of tomatoes, 50 g of peeled almonds, 50 g of Parmesan cheese or grana padano, 80-120 ml of olive oil, one clove of garlic, a sprig of green basil, salt and black pepper to taste.

Rinse greens, dry and remove very thick branches (thin ones should be left). In tomatoes, remove the stem.

Remove the stalk, seeds and membranes from the peppers and fry them until soft in olive oil.

Hard cheese — rub.

Traditionally, the sauce is made in a mortar, but it is physically hard and long.

Much easier in a food processor or grinder.

An immersion blender is also an option.

First chop the greens / vegetables with nuts and garlic.

Then add the cheese and a drop of butter and chop again. In a few steps, add the remaining oil. Try it, add salt and pepper to taste.

Consider that there is already salty cheese in the sauce.

Ready sauce can be stored for several days in the refrigerator, then it should be sealed and preferably, pour a layer of oil on top.

If you need to store longer — put in a plastic container in the freezer.

And when thawed, whisk again in a blender, if necessary, diluted with water or oil.

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