Tuesday, August 24, 2010


One of my favorite foods is pesto. Sort of. I learned last year that pesto has to have pine nuts (or some kind of nuts) while pistou is the same thing without nuts. I don't use nuts in mine--at first because I couldn't find pine nuts and when I did they were expensive. And using other kinds of nuts just sounds weird. By the time I learned I was using the wrong word, I was so used to saying pesto that I couldn't switch. Besides, everyone knows what pesto is and no one has heard of pistou.

This recipe is based on one my Dad sent me. I make it in large batches and freeze it to eat all winter. Or longer. I still have a jar labeled 08 in the freezer, although I think I may have just reused the lid last summer.

  • 2 c fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or less)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or 5 twists of a grinder)
  • 3 cloves garlic or more
  • 1/2 c olive oil or less
Put everything in a blender. Using Lo/Grind, blend a few seconds, push herbs down (if you don't have an awesome blender that really mixes well), repeat until thin but not liquid. Or, if you don't have a blender (I don't), put in a large bowl, preferably taller rather than wider, and use a stick blender on 2 or 3 to combine.

  • 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese (not the Kraft kind we used as kids on spaghetti. Your cheese can affect the flavor greatly. I tried a ME-made parm that I don't care for in my first batch. Then I returned to the Bel Gioso I used in WI (it was local there). I like the pesto better.) You can also use Asiago or other dry cheeses, of course.
Mix well and put in fridge or freezer. Makes about 1 c.

I have made enormous batches (8x recipe) in a metal bowl with the stick blender; far more than I could put in a regular blender. This is the only thing I used the blender for, so I got rid of it and bought a really nice stick blender instead. I don't recommend making 8 batches at once. It took me 3 hours, and I didn't have to grate the cheese that time. But my basil was all bolting so I had to process it right away.

This year, I'm going slowly and have made 3 batches so far on two days. I don't think I have as much basil either; although I have more plants than ever before, they aren't as big as they were in WI. For the first time, my basil actually sprouted and grew--it's the only thing that's growing better in ME than in WI! By the time I knew it would grow, I'd already bought 6 basil plants, too.

Nutmeg and I both love this on pasta, making our favorite dish, pestasto! I've also made some breads (fougasse) with it. I'll make more this winter and post them.

No comments:

Post a Comment