Monday, July 13, 2009

Presto Pesto!

Pesto is the perfect fast food. It's quick, easy and versatile. Like everyone else in the western world I use it to dress pasta, add cream to enrich it as a sauce and I also add mayo to turn it into a sandwich spread. One of our favorite panini is made with pesto, mozzarella and spicy capocollo.

The best pesto I ever had was in at "da Costantino Qua se Magno", a deli in Rome. It was around the corner from our hotel, Hotel Italia. The pesto was bright green, fragrant and full of flavor. In broken Italian and English we found it had been made with young, tender Genovese Basil leaves. We were told this ensured a sweet and fresh flavor. We devoured it and went back for more everyday.
Just yesterday an old friend from high school ask me if I had a good pesto recipe. Myra had an abundance of beautiful fresh basil in her garden. I immediately went back in time to Rome and knew I had to relive one of those unforgettable meals. I whipped up the pesto with some organic basil I had gotten at the farmer's market
It's easy! Place the pine nuts, garlic, salt into a food processor
and process until chopped
add the basil leaves
while processing, pour in the oil.
and process until smooth.
In a large bowl add the pesto to the pasta, I like to add my cheese at this point.
and garnished the dish with a few oven roasted tomatoes.
Colorful, aromatic and flavorful it was a treat for the eyes as well as the mouth!
Buon Appetito!

Genovese Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Pick all the basil leaves from the stalks and wash thoroughly.
Place the pine nuts, garlic, salt and basil leaves in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the oil in the feed tube, and blend until the oil is incorporated.
Remove to a bowl and beat in the cheese by hand, or add as you toss it with pasta.
*If you are planning to serve the pesto with pasta, add 1 tablespoon of the pasta water to it at this time.
Two American gentleman enjoying a Roman Feast!

Text and recipes are property of The Gypsy Chef


  1. Oven-roasted tomatoes are such a nice addition to pesto--they really brighten it up. Wonderful post--I really like your action shots!

  2. Thanks loads. It was fun trying to shoot my daughter tossing the pasta. I'm not going to tell you how many pics I took! We eat roasted tomatoes around here as if they were candy.