Monday, July 15, 2013

Art Basil: Pignoli-Free Pesto Recipe

We have the great fortune of living next door to an 86-year-old Italian immigrant named Guido who was more than happy to watch over our little garden while we were away, watering the peppers, singing to the tomatoes and plucking the tops off our basil plants until we could return home to reap the fruits of his our labor.

I'm about this interested in cooking in the summer (my fingers are touching), so I love that I can make this pesto in less than five minutes and without ever having to put down my wine glass, a theory I road tested for you last night because I love you and also because I am lazy and love wine.

Because the duckling is allergic to nuts, I forego pine nuts, which you could easily add back in. I also add parsley, which I think adds a nice freshness to offset the sweetness of the basil, especially since ours has a strangely distinct anise flavor. What is that about?

What You'll Need:

- all of the above (grubby boy fingers optional)
- food processor
- salt, optional
- your pesto vehicle of choice...fettuccine, grilled fish, rice, grilled vegetables, even delivery pizza

I do roughly three parts basil, one part parsley, one part grated pecorino. Pepper and olive oil to taste (I usually start with 2 tbsp olive oil and go from there). The basil and pesto above yielded two small processor's worth of pesto, more than enough for four adult plates of pasta.

What You'll Do

- throw everything in a food processor and chop
- use the remaining fifteen minutes you normally spend making dinner to pretend you're still cooking and read a magazine over the sink instead

Last night I was feeling domestic, so I added a little fleur de sel that one of my husband's clients brought us from France recently. This salt is crazy town. I caught myself licking my finger and dipping it into the bowl.  And by "I caught myself" I mean "my husband caught me".

Ps - this pesto is literally my favorite pizza topping ever, especially for average delivery pizza.  I gather the ingredients in the food processor as soon as I hang up the phone and simply chop it up as my husband answers the door.  You can also use it on homemade pizzas, which I have a recipe for here if you're interested.

Pps - this stuff freezes well, too, so I'm going to whip up a big batch for my cousin Genna, who gave birth last week to her first child, a boy named Luca.  Can't wait to kiss his little Italian face in a few weeks!

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