World-famous dip, a thin layer of Pesto can turn a sandwich from a dull, grey brick to a Michelin Star masterpiece (at least it feels like that).
It originated in Genoa, though its evolution goes back to the middle-ages in the form of ‘Agliata’ and even to the ancient Roman times with the ‘Moretum’ (on both of which, I will write more in the future). The name Pesto comes from Italian - Pestare (to crush and mince), and is a direct description for the technique that was used to make it. Actually in the past, under the Pestare name, you could have used several herbs (not only the basil) for this dip, like Taragon and Parsley.
It is a very easy-made dip, can be added to sandwiches, different pastas, soups, salads, roots vegetables, meats and more.
Here is a recipe for home-made Pesto Genovese:
• 8 garlic cloves,
• 6 tbs pine nuts
• 3 cups basil leaves (preferably, young basil leaves)
• Salt and ground pepper
• 1/2 cup Grana Padano, grated
• 4 tbs Pecorino, grated
• 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
I will show here two different methods to make Pesto. The first method is the “normal” in which we use a food processor and finish the job quite quickly, the result is delicious but anyone who wants to experience a “wild” flavor and texture, will try the second method, which we will call the “Traditional”.
Put the garlic in a food processor and grind it fine. Add the pine nuts, basil leaves and grind them all with a few quick pulses, until reaching a fine texture. While using a spoon, swirl the oil slowly into the mixture (small tip: you should never add oil while the food processor is on, the oil might heat up from the friction and cook itself and the ingredients in the pesto). Add all the other ingredients and mix well.
It is recommended to let it sit for 4-5 hours in the refrigerator for the flavors to merge. You can vacuum it and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Requires strength and patience, but the result is outstanding.
Take the garlic with one third of the basil leaves, chop them with a large knife (preferably with a Mezzaluna knife), after a few minutes, add another one third of basil leaves, keep on chopping, then add another one third of basil leaves, keep on chopping.
At this stage the mixture should be finely chopped, add the nuts, keep on chopping, add the Grana Padano and Pecurino, keep on chopping. At this stage the mixture should resemble a large patty, move it into a suitable container. In case you have time - cover it with oil and keep it in the fridge for 4-5 hours. In case you want to use it immediately - swirl the oil into the ‘patty’ and serve.
The difference between the versions is in taste and texture. In the Normal version - we will end up with the regular uniform pesto most of us are acquainted with, but with the Traditional recipe - we can still taste and feel the different components, this exposes us to other flavors, which in turn, grants a whole different experience.
by: Amit Rabin